AMAZING finds by archaeologists during recent excavations at Brading Roman Villa mean history will have to be re-written, not just there but at other important mosaic sites around the country.
Although his findings are still to be published, archaeologist Kevin Trott has compiled a 400-page report, which has dispelled some long-held myths and is set to take the archaeological world by storm.
This week he gave the County Press an insight into the archaeologically-explosive contents.
Palladius, the supposed owner of the villa, is now completely out of the frame. It has emerged that when the villa burnt down in a catastrophic fire in around 300 AD, Palladius had not even been born.
There is now overwhelming evidence that the villa dates from the third century, not the fourth as originally thought from the style of the mosaics.
This revision of its date has repercussions for other prominent Roman sites, which have been dated from the style of their mosaics.
"Our findings have even surprised experts like me but it is clear that basing a date on the style of mosaics is a false way of doing things," said Mr Trott, whose fast-growing reputation means he is being invited to talk at conferences about his work.
"The work we have just completed has unravelled everything completely," said Mr Trott, 33, who lives with his wife Kathryn and son, Joseph, one, in Staplers Road, Newport.
After his excavations, which began in 2003, the pottery, glass, coins and other artefacts were sent off to individual experts for their analysis. Once those reports came back, all the evidence was analysed and pulled together by Mr Trott.
He and a team of up to 28 people have looked at the site from the very earliest period 8,000 years ago in the Middle Stone Age up to the present.
During the period of the Roman Emperor Nero, in about AD60, there was a high-status building on the site.
"Not only did the owner have mosaics but also painted wall plaster and the interesting thing is that he could afford minerals to make the paint up — cinnabar and Egyptian blue, which came from Spain and Egypt respectively. Only five other sites in Britain have this and they include such significant places as Fishbourne Roman Palace," said Mr Trott, who comes from nine generations of Islanders.
The villa in Brading, as it is seen today, was built in 270AD, but it was to be completely destroyed in a catastrophic fire just 30 years or so later.
Soil samples suggest there was never a formal garden at the villa. All that was outside was domestic rubbish and toilets in front of the building.
Thousands of charred beans were also found — the largest amount discovered in Britain — and it is Mr Trott's view they were a staple diet on the Island, in the same way that Lincolnshire became known for producing brussels sprouts.
The beans were preserved by being charred, probably in the fire which destroyed the villa.