Philip Crummy, of Colchester Archaeological Trust, tells us more about the Middleborough Mosaic.

Gazette: Philip Crummy outside the old Army

THE fanstastic Middleborough Mosaic which you featured was in fact found during our excavations, not during the later building work.

We mounted a full-blown excavation covering most of the site beforehand.

The results were of great interest and parts of two Roman houses, a Roman street in between, a well-preserved Roman kiln, later medieval kilns, and the remains of two medieval houses showed how busy and different the area had been over the years.

We were also able to record Newmarket Tavern’s timber-frame in detail so as to relate the above-ground building to the complicated and informative archaeological sequence of floors, hearths and ovens below.

I love your picture which shows the site with the Newmarket Tavern standing in the foreground. We are in that picture too.

The little polytunnel to the left of the Newmarket is ours. We used to put these little plastic covers over parts of our sites so that we could keep going regardless of the weather.

The Middleborough mosaic is a highly-decorated and fine example of the Roman art of mosaic-making.

We invited the public to come and see the pavement on two successive Saturdays late in the summer of 1978.

We were delighted when 2,700 people turned up to admire its wriggling sea beasts, perching birds, and wrestling cupids all neatly bound as one by a network of intricate geometric and floral scrolls.

Maybe you were one of our visitors?

You can now see the mosaic in all its glory on the first floor of the Castle Museum.

If you want to find out more about the mosaic and other archaeological discoveries in Colchester, come to the Roman Circus Centre on Saturday at 11.30am.

There will an illustrated talk (by me) about the huge archaeological excavations which took place between 1972 and 1985.

This was when the town centre was transformed as a result of major developments at Lion Walk, Culver Street and Balkerne Lane.

Another talk a week later (same time) will cover some of the biggest later discoveries including the Roman Circus and the extraordinary doctor’s grave from Stanway.

Both talks are free but please phone 01206 501785 if you want to be sure of a seat.