SHELVED plans to display a historic mosaic believed to be almost 2,000 years old in Colchester could now be set to be resurrected. 

A triangular piece of Roman mosaic was discovered back in 2022 in Red Lion Yard by archaeologists who had planned to recover the relic and put it on show.

The project was halted, however, after a high-voltage cable running directly over the mosaic was found to be in the way. 

Colchester Council made the difficult decision after fearing the infrastructure changes and costs needed to free the artefact would be too high. 

Gazette: Magnificent - The Roman mosaicMagnificent - The Roman mosaic (Image: Martin Leatherdale)

However, the project could now be back on after engineers from UK Power Networks found there is now "no cable blockage" which could prevent the mosaic from being displayed. 

The engineers made the discovery after carrying out works to upgrade the existing underground wiring in Lion Walk last week.

Marin Leatherdale, the manager of Lion Walk Shopping Centre, said: "Whilst UKPN have been on site they have confirmed there is no power network cable blockage to showcasing the Roman Mosaic discovered in Red Lion Yard recently.

Gazette: Site - A photo of how the UKPN site looked last SaturdaySite - A photo of how the UKPN site looked last Saturday (Image: Newsquest)

Gazette: Work - Another angle of the UKPN site in Red Lion Walk Shopping CentreWork - Another angle of the UKPN site in Red Lion Walk Shopping Centre (Image: Martin Leatherdale)

“I have taken the opportunity to study the scenes and technical drawings with UKPN seniors and we can confirm that there is no obstacle by UKPN.

“We can commence the mosaic plan pending the ongoing support and the original funding from Colchester Council for this amazing project."

According to specialists, the Roman artwork is one of 40 discovered over the past 200 years in Colchester.

The piece is understood to have been part of a bigger artwork and could have been part of an affluent Roman’s home.

Councillor Darius Laws, who has been a part of the mosaic project since the start, is determined to help shine a light on Colchester’s rich history.

Gazette: Teamwork – Tabitha Lawrence, Martin Leatherdale, Philip Crummy, and Harvey Furniss on-site at Red Lion YardTeamwork – Tabitha Lawrence, Martin Leatherdale, Philip Crummy, and Harvey Furniss on-site at Red Lion Yard (Image: Martin Leatherdale)

Gazette: History - A closer look at the mosaicHistory - A closer look at the mosaic (Image: Public)

He said: “I am determined we make the most of Colchester's unique Roman heritage.

“Showcasing our heritage assets is critical if we want to have a vibrant destination for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Colchester Council bosses have now said they are awaiting official confirmation from UK Power Networks regarding the nature of the identified cables.

A spokesman said: " We understand the ongoing interest in the Roman mosaic and appreciate the patience of residents and stakeholders as we navigate this complex situation.

“As previously stated, the decision to pause the mosaic display was not taken lightly. While the cultural and economic potential of the project is undeniable, unforeseen challenges like the potential cable issue, which is just one of a number of services that run over the mosaic, pose significant budgetary hurdles.

"In the current economic climate, diverting funds from essential services and infrastructure projects directly impacting residents is unfortunately not feasible.

“We reiterate our strong commitment to preserving and showcasing Colchester's Roman heritage. We are exploring alternative options and will re-evaluate the project’s feasibility if the cable issue is resolved without financial burden on the council.”

The work being undertaken in Lion Walk are to help with the renovation of the forthcoming Pret-a-Manger which was previously home to the iStore before it relocated to Culver Square.

Martin confirmed the current UKPN work in Lion Walk “should be complete this week” and reinstatement works are underway by a “very commercial subcontractor".