The 1,600-year-old Roman floor panel showing a leopard attacking an antelope was unearthed by archaeologists in Dewlish, Dorset, in 1974. The mosaic, measuring 2m by 2.4m, which is 6.5ft by 8 ft, was discovered in the grounds of Dewlish House and is thought to have formed part of the flooring of a villa. The acquisition will present a perfect opportunity to reunite the new mosaic with the fragment depicting a sea creature procession or Theasos, also found at Dewlish in 1975. This piece, already in the museum’s collection, used to hang on the wall above our reception.
Dr. Jon Murden, Director of Dorset Museum said “It’s a critical part of this county’s heritage as well as being internationally significant. I am incredibly confident that we will be able to purchase it – so confident we have already identified a place for it when the museum reopens in 2021 following the £15m redevelopment.”
Alongside a number of pledged gifts, including that of an anonymous American donor, we are hoping to secure gifts from major national acquisition funds, but are also asking for support from individuals who believe that this treasure should saved for the nation.
A temporary export ban that was due to expire on October the 16th has now been extended until January after making our intentions known to buy the mosaic.