A massive Roman mosaic, from the apex of Imperial reach and power, has been unearthed in southern Turkey.
The 1,600-square-foot decorative handiwork is believed to be the biggest mosaic of its type and demonstrates the reach and cultural influence of the Roman Empire in the area during the third and fourth centuries A.D. The archeology team has been investigating the remains of the ancient city of Antiochia ad Cragum on the southern Turkish coast.
Antiochus of Commagene, a client-king of Rome, founded the ancient city in the middle of the first century. Antiochia ad Cragum was a modest city by Roman standards and outfitted with many of the typical trappings one would expect from a Roman provincial city – temples, baths, markets and colonnaded streets.
The city thrived during the Empire from an economy that focused on agricultural products, especially wine and lumber.
Excavation work has focused on a third-century temple dedicated to the Roman imperial cult, and also a colonnaded street lined with commercial shops. In July, the team began to explore the mosaic, which was part of a Roman Bath. The decoration consists of large squares, each filled with different colored geometric designs and ornamentation.
Meanwhile, the middle of the mosaic was outfitted with a marble-lined, 25-foot-long pool, which would have been uncovered and open to the sun. The other half of the mosaic, adjacent to the bath, has yet to be revealed but is expected to contain the same type of decoration
They first noticed the mosaic in 2001, when Nicholas Rauh of Purdue University, the director of a large archaeological survey project that included Hoff, noticed plowing by a local farmer had brought up pieces of a mosaic in a field next to a still-standing bath structure.
The find was brought to the attention of the archeological museum in Alanya, who two years later made a minor investigation that revealed a small portion of the mosaic. Last year, the museum invited Hoff to clear the entire mosaic and to preserve it for tourists to view and scholars to study.
Via How far Roman Empire might have been gone in Turkey?