Crews from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, have unearthed a gorgeous Roman mosaic in the ancient city of Antiochia ad Cragum on the southern Turkish coast. This massive 1,600 square foot work of art is a testament to the craftsmanship of the era and the vast reach of the Roman empire at the time.
Michael Hoff, Hixson-Lied professor of art history at UNL was the director of the excavation. Hoff believes it to be the largest mosaic to be found in this area and explains the finds impact on the history of the region by saying, “We were surprised to have found a mosaic of such size and of such caliber in this region – it’s an area that had usually been off the radar screens of most ancient historians and archeologists, and suddenly this mosaic comes into view and causes us to change our focus about what we think (the region) was like in antiquity.”
The project at Antiochia ad Cragum began in 2001, when Hoff and other researchers discovered small mosaic tiles that had been dug up by a farmer. The find was brought to the attention of the archeological museum in Alanya. Last year the museum asked Hoff to clear the mosaic and help preserve it as a tourist spot and for academic purposes. Hoff directed students from both UNL and Atatürk University in Ezrurum, Turkey.
The mosaic was part of a Roman bath which was a very common feature in Roman antiquity. “This would have been a very formal associated pavement attached to the bath,” Hoff said. “This is a gorgeous mosaic, and its size is unprecedented”. In fact, it is so large, that the team estimates they have only uncovered 40% of it. Pictured below, you can see a close up view of the bath that was excavated at the site.
A find like this must make someone like Hoff feel like a kid in a candy store. In a UNL press release, you can almost feel the enthusiasm jump off the page when you read:
“As an archaeologist, I am always excited to make new discoveries. The fact that this discovery is so large and also not completely uncovered makes it doubly exciting,” he said. “I am already looking forward to next year, though I just returned from Turkey.”
For more information, and to see more incredible pictures, please visit UNL’s website at http://go.unl.edu/d0g.