A NEW project will see sections of an historic North York Moors mosaic recreated by local school pupils and community members, close to where the original was found more than 50 years ago.

The Beadlam Roman Villa mosaic lay undiscovered until 1966, when excavations began to uncover the remains of a relatively large villa dating from the third and fourth centauries AD. The mosaic was damaged, but what remained was carefully lifted in sections and is now housed at the English Heritage Archaeology Store, located in Helmsley.

Now, as part of the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership, which is working with communities in the catchment area of the River Rye and its tributaries, sections of the mosaic are to be recreated and displayed to the public.

Sue Kershaw, mosaic artist from Huttons Ambo in York, has been responsible for planning the recreation project and running the different workshops with both children and adults in the local area.

Sue said: “I’ve been absolutely fascinated by Roman mosaics for the last 20 years, so I was thrilled to be asked to recreate something of such local significance, it really is a dream come true.

“It actually came as quite as a surprise, as I’d never heard of the Beadlam villa and its mosaic. The site isn’t open to the public and the original mosaic isn’t on display, so it felt like I was discovering one of Yorkshire’s best kept secrets.

"I’m so pleased this project will allow more people to learn about the Roman history on our doorstep.”

Children from Nawton Community Primary School have already completed one section of the project's design, with workshops at Ryedale School planned for later in the term.

Nawton Primary School pupil Zara, aged seven, who along with friend Isla added the final pieces to their school mosaic, said: “I do like writing, but making something helps you understand the information much better. We’re learning about the Romans - and now we know that they lived really nearby.

"It was hard to get all the pieces in the right place but amazing to touch it at the end, like stroking a finished jigsaw.”

On Saturday May 28, members of the public can take their turn, with mosaic sessions taking place at the English Heritage Archaeology Store throughout the day and artefacts from the Roman Villa also on display.

The team will then be at Ryedale Show on July 26 for a final opportunity to get involved. The completed mosaics will be housed permanently within the community, including in the schools in which they were made.

If you are interested in taking part in the mosaic workshop on May 28, visit the North York Moors website for more details and booking information.