2,000-year-old mosaic floor unearthed in villa that once belonged to Roman emperors

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Italian archaeologists have discovered an ancient mosaic floor in the living room of a villa that once belonged to Roman emperors.

The 2,000-year-old floor was uncovered at the Pausilypon, an imperial villa that was inherited by Octavian Augustus and passed down to subsequent emperors, according to a news release from the University of Naples. The excavation was led by Marco Giglio, an archaeologist from the University of Naples “L’Orientale.”

The unearthed mosaic has a white tile center surrounded by a double-layered black outline, the university said. The floor is believed to comprise the villa’s living room, which overlooks the Bay of Naples.

Experts say they are hopeful the discovery of the villa’s floor will shed light on the building’s first owner, Publius Vedio Pollione, a rich merchant, knight and politician. Pollione was close to Augustus, but the two had a falling out, according to a Dec. 12 Facebook post from the university.

When Pollione died in 15 B.C., he left his villa to Augustus, the university said. Augustus renamed the home and facilitated renovations, including transforming Pollione’s living room into a personal spa and covering the original floor.

The Pausilypon archaeological site

The villa is a part of a larger archaeological site in Posillipo, which is on Italy’s western coast about 150 miles south of Rome.

A portion of the Pausilypon archaeological site is open to the public, flaunting a tunnel spanning nearly a half mile, ancient theaters and a temple, according to the Commune di Napoli.

Giglio said his team is still waiting on an exact, stratigraphic dating for the floor.

“Ours is still a hypothesis,” he said in the university’s release. “But based on the style that hall could date back to the late Republican age or Augustan at the latest.”

Google Translate was used to translate the news release from University of Naples “L’Orientale.”

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