Unearthed: Enormous Roman Mosaic

A giant poolside mosaic featuring intricate geometric patterns was unearthed in the southern Turkey earlier this week under a farmer’s field. The first hint that something stunning lay underground in southern Turkey came in 2002, when Purdue University classics professor Nick Rauh walked through a freshly-plowed farmer’s field near the ancient city of Antiochia ad Cragum. The plow had churned up bits of mosaic tiles.

The mosaic was a decorated floor of a bath complex. The pool was 7-meter long. The find likely dates to the third or fourth century, said Michael Hoff, a University of Nebraska, Lincoln art historian and director of the mosaic excavation. The mosaic composed of large squares, forming unique geometric designs, from starburst patterns to intertwined loops on white background.

Unique geometric patterns on the mosaic floor. (Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska, Lincoln)

The mosaic is 149 square meters. So far, it is the largest Roman mosaic ever found in southern Turkey.  The existence of the mosaic suggests that Antiochia ad Cragum was far more influenced by the Romans than believed.

The largest Roman mosaic ever found in southern Turkey(Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska, Lincoln)

 Only about 40 percent of the mosaic had been revealed so far. The team will return with students and volunteers to complete the mosaic excavations in June 2013. Hoff said, the plan is to construct a wooden shelter over the entire mosaic and open the site to public visits.

Archaeologists cleaning the big mosaic floor. (Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska, Lincoln)

For other posts about archaeology, please click here.

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