The Rudston Swastika Mosaic

detail from Swastika mosaic

This remarkably complete mosaic is known as the Swastika or Geometric Mosaic and was found in 1933 at the Roman villa near Rudston, East Yorkshire. It came from the central room of the same house as the Venus and Aquatic Mosaics which are also displayed at the Hull and East Riding Museum. The mosaic measures 2.75m square and dates to the later 3rd century AD, the same date as the Venus Mosaic.

Swastikas and Endless Knots


The central motif consists of four 'swastika-peltae', each made up of four peltae arranged in the form of a swastika around a central endless knot. The swastika theme is continued in the meander around the edge, executed in blue and white tesserae. The swastika is an ancient symbol, long pre-dating its use in Nazi Germany.

Oops!


Look closely at the red triangles that border the inner edge of the central square. The top and the right-hand side are bigger than the other sides. This suggests that the fringe was composed by two craftsmen starting together at the bottom right and working round to the top left corner. The probably weren't too happy when they realised that the two halves didn't match!

And Again!


At first glance the meander pattern around the edge looks symmetrical but take another look... It's not quite right! But don't be too scathing, this sort of pattern must have been incredibly difficult to pull off!