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Historic Roman mosaic on public display for the first time

The biggest Roman mosaic ever discovered in Switzerland can now be seen in a newly-opened museum at Vallon in Canton Fribourg.

First traces of the mosaic, called the “Venatio”, were discovered during construction work in 1985 near the town of Avenches, which was the capital of Helvetia when it was a Roman province.

Archaeologists soon found it was not only an art treasure, but was also much bigger – 97 square metres – than had been originally thought, and they now consider it to be one of the finest examples of painted mosaics north of the Alps with its depictions of hunting scenes.

A second smaller mosaic was later discovered, featuring the meeting in mythology between Ariane and Bacchus.

It is also now on public view, along with bronze statuettes and hundreds of everyday objects dating back to the period of Roman Helvetia.

The mosaics and many of the other exhibits come from a Roman villa constructed in the third century BC on the site of the new museum.

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