Museum Treasure: The Shell Mosaic of Verulamium

The Verulamium Museum of Everyday Life in Roman Britain has a stunning collection of artefacts dating back to the Roman period of British history. Much of its exhibits come from excavations of the ancient roman city of Verulamium.

Verulamium was the third largest town in Roman Britain, after Londinium (London) and Camulodunum (Colchester). This ancient Roman city flourished here from about 45 AD to about 420 AD and at its peak, it had a population of about 7,000. It had the status of a municipium (municipality) and had a basilica (town hall), a forum (market place) and a theatre. Verulamium was near the present day city of St. Albans, which is about 20 minutes by train from London.

I was very fortunate to visit this museum as part of a day trip to St. Albans about 3 years back, and the Roman mosaics in the Museum’s collection is something that I have not forgotten even after all this while. These mosaics are nearly 2000 years old, and if you were to see them, you would be forgiven for thinking that they were made yesterday ! Mosaics are very difficult to preserve and the Romans must be credited with creating such high quality pieces of art which have lasted centuries.

From L to R: the Dahlia Mosaic, the Shell Mosaic, and the Oceanus/Neptune Mosaic

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