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Tours > Roman Britain at the BM > The Great Orpheus Pavement

The Great Orpheus Pavement
Woodchester, Gloucestershire

Scrollwork from the Great Pavement This small panel of ancanthus scrollwork, delicately pieced together in tiny mosaicwork, is the only section of the 'Great Woodchester Pavement' currently on display to the public. Woodchester was the site of a vast Roman Palace, possibly connected with the Provincial Governor or Procurator. Its central reception room contained a huge colourful mosaic floor. 47ft square, it is the largest mosaic to be found north of the Alps; and it survives largely intact beneath the local churchyard (though partially damaged by grave-digging). It is carefully protected for future generations. The mosaic's central region, containing the musician, Orpheus, has gone, but most of the enchanted birds and beasts parading around him remain. This was a popular theme with the Corinian School of Mosaicists from Cirencester, who are believed to have made the floor in the 4th century.

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