They found a huge Roman villa complex in Cheddar…

…. and that’s not even the coolest part!

Two n00b archaeologists have uncovered a large villa and bath house in the Mendip Hills area in Somerset, England. The odds of them finding mosaics and a wide range of other artifacts from the 2nd or 3rd century AD are excellent — “We only excavated a two by one meter area inside the building and every layer contained Roman materials. If we’d carried on we would have found a tremendous amount.” — and they’re even managing to keep looters out for now.

So what’s the coolest part, you ask? It’s this:

Archaeologists Glyn Wellington and Carol Hughes have been working at the location for over a year, together with John Mathews of Winscombe.

Glyn, aged 53, graduated from a part-time degree course last year.

That’s right. Part-time degree course + 53 = giant Roman villa.

Glyn Wellington: a beacon of hope to wannabe archaeologists everywhere.

Guided tours of Rome, courtesy of Palladio

The 16th century architect whose revival of classic design continues to affect how buildings are built even today, was something of a tourguide in his spare time. He wrote two books on Rome — one about the ancient city and one about the churches — which have just been translated, illustrated and published in handy pocket-sized format by Mssrs. Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks and Yale University Press.

The New York Times review has me salivating.

“It is as if Palladio — ever the architect — is rehearsing the original laying-out of the great city,” write Mr. Hart and Mr. Hicks in their helpful introduction. (They have also added dozens of period drawings and contemporary photographs, whereas the originals were not illustrated.)

Palladio spices up the tour with remarks on the history and mores of the ancients. “No citizen was considered wealthy unless he could personally finance the army for one year,” he claims in an entry on rich Romans. Two pages later, he is telling us about the three ways that men could dissolve a marriage.

Mmm... Pre-order...