Copy of Roman mosaic to go on sale
Published 25/02/2010 | 07:14
A reconstruction of the largest Roman mosaic ever found in Britain - featuring 1.6 million tiny pieces - is to go on sale this summer.
The painstaking copy of the Orpheus pavement, discovered in Woodchester, Gloucestershire, took its creators 10 years to complete.
Now the masterpiece by brothers Bob and John Woodward is to go under the hammer because it has no permanent home.
The work is currently on display at Prinknash Abbey, near Stroud, but the lease has come to an end, and its owner - who does not wish to be identified - has decided to sell.
Anyone who wants the giant creation will need 2,200 square feet of room to show it off.
The original mosaic, which dates back to 325 AD, was first fully excavated in 1793 and has only occasionally been exposed since then before being recovered with earth.
During its most recent uncovering in 1973, when the brothers first fell in love with it, more than 150,000 visitors caused chaos when they descended on the village.
Realising that another display might never take place they decided to make a full-scale reconstruction.
The replica they created is now recognised as one of the most significant archaeological projects of recent times.
Iona Sale, who is publicising the event, said: "It is very versatile because you could put perspex on top and walk on it."