Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bignor Roman Villa

After visiting Arundel Castle, we detoured on the way home to Bignor Roman Villa.

The Villa is located just north of the South Downs which is the hill in this photo. As we drove up to the place we could see fields of grain that looked just like the fields in Germany.

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The views to the hills are wonderful. Everything was really green because of the incessant rain that has been falling all summer.

It's quite an unpretentious place.

And if you want to see some Gladiators, you now know where to go.

This brick structure protects some of the mosaic floors.

You go through this door, pay a few pounds at the office and then go back to the 1st century.

This is one museum where mostly you look down. It's the floors that are interesting here.

In the years after a local farmer, George Tupper discovered something was down there when he was plowing in 1811, there has been considerable digging. Research indicates that the villa was quite large and might have looked like this model. While some of the floor mosaics have been left uncovered, most of the site has been recovered with dirt to prevent damage.

There are some exhibits lining the walls. Interestingly, the buildings that were erected to protect the mosaics by 1815 are now protected in their own right. They are known as the Georgian Buildings.

Part of the Roman floor mosaics.

The roof of the Georgian Building which is thatched.

An ornamental water basin.

A long corridor of mosaics. It's almost 80 feet long.

There are several buildings to go through and the mosaics are impressive. 

However, this was my favourite. Whenever I enter a room I immediately check it out to see if it would be good for stereo. I suspect this would work very well for me. The dimensions are roughly 8 x 12 paces (golden mean) and it had an interesting curved wall with a central window. There were also windows at the side to provide plenty of light. Audiophile purists would probably object to some aspects, but I don't care. I would like it.

Again, another thatched roof.

Of course, turning it into an audio room was not on the agenda so we are back to it being a room with a hypocaust floor.

Looking back the other way in my new listening room.

I am now inspired to copy this building and install speakers and amplifiers. 

Being a bit of a ratbag, I mentioned to the woman who was running the place that the room would be good for hi-fi. That led to a discussion about how they were not allowed to make any changes to the buildings because they were now listed in their own right. Several of the mosaics needed to be heated to discourage moss from growing on them but they could not have electrical wires from the national grid running to the buildings. I suggested that they investigate solar panels that could be laid on top of some modern sheds out the back and she said nobody had suggested that before and the idea was intriguing.

That is what five weeks of travelling round Germany with all of its solar panels does for you.

A sign of global warming? Vineyards next to the site of the former villa. The Romans probably grew grapes there as well.

More of the thatched roofs.

The lines denote the walls of the villa. Underneath the grass are more mosaics.

Obviously the old buildings need upkeep.

There is just so much stuff to see in England, much of it very old. Fortunately, preservation has been recognized as being very important for a long time.

And of course, it really started to rain as we left.

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