Roman mosaic craft ancient history ancient rome 1st 4th 8th

Roman Mosaic craft

Every now and then I hear about some random location in Europe that is being excavated for some reason, maybe to make a new parking lot, or maybe it’s just the owner decided to fix something, and then we discover a new Roman Mosaic. It kind of amazes me how they pop up all the time. Several years ago for a history lesson we made a Roman mosaic craft, it was part of this two-week-long Roman history unit we did, and it was a lot of fun, and the way we did this has the advantage of not being permanent, so you can remake it over and over again.

Roman mosaic craft

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Roman Mosaic craft supplies

Every type of dry bean you can get your hands on

our roman mosaic craft supplies
I think technically this is Superman’s mosaic, but it’s also a great example of the many beans I found.

pinto beans, lentils, navy beans (which are oddly white), red (look orange) and white lentils, black beans

poster board or some other background material

Some history of Roman Mosaics

Roman mosaics are everywhere, rather obviously with my introduction. Because of how they are constructed it endures for quite a long time.

And another one about mosaics up in England.

And then an interesting video on the conservation efforts of a Roman mosaic found in Israel.

I can just imagine how difficult it is to build anything in the ancient world because everywhere has history buried underground.

And to give you some good sources to read:

roman mosaic hands on history craft

Making our Roman Mosaic craft

I would say I have loads of unique pictures of constructing this craft, but really. It’s pretty straightforward. You just let your kids have fun arranging the beans in different designs.

working on our roman mosaics

Really, it was mainly us sitting on the floor and passing bowls full of beans around and discussing what we were creating. We discovered it is much more difficult to create images than you would think.

Okay, it really isn’t that big of a surprise, we are working in super small pieces after all, and we don’t have the widest variety of colors.

But looking at the Roman mosaics, you’ll notice they do not have a wide variety of colors, and they are not supremely bright. Though, I do wonder how much of that is fading from time. I know traditionally the white statues we see now were actually painted.

Side comment

When I took World History in high school my teacher went on this extended discussion of how some eccentric millionaire.

Roman mosaic craft ancient history ancient rome 1st 4th 8th

This was back in the 90s before we talked about eccentric billionaires.

But, this eccentric millionaire bought a bunch of ancient statues, and then he took them and painted them outlandishly bright colors.

All of the snobby elites were all up in arms, “How could you desecrate these treasures? What are you thinking?”

Then he pointed out how there were flecks of paint on the statues that he used to help decide on the colors he chose.

Oh wait, I think some of the mosaics from Pompeii were fairly bright once they were unearthed and cleaned up.

Back to our mosaics craft

In the end, our Roman mosaic crafts were not necessarily obvious what we were trying to create.

our final roman mosaics

The Artist and I both tried to create geometric patterns. That was a somewhat common design, but more frequent was animals or images from Roman mythology.

I think Batman’s (the bottom right) is supposed to be a landscape. It looks like he has a path with a forest on either side, then some sort of red rocks and coming back to another forest. I don’t know I”m making it up.

Superman, sigh, Superman just is random shapes. I’m sure at the time he had a very long and elaborate story explaining it all.

At the end, we took our Roman mosaics apart, and I bagged up the beans to be used for other projects. I still have them, and now they get used in my Bible sensory bins.

All in all, a good way to spend an afternoon.

More history crafts

Over the years, we’ve done a lot of history crafts. It’s a fun way to help kids truly understand the lesson.


One response to “Roman Mosaic craft”

  1. Natalie PlanetSmarty Avatar
    Natalie PlanetSmarty

    I think this craft is super cool… if you have all these beans!

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