Giant Roman-Era Mosaic Discovered in Turkey

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.

Mosaic View from Above
View of the mosaic from above. (Credit: Michael Hoff, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

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.

Roman Bath
The Roman bath uncovered during the summer. (Credit – Office of University Communications University of Nebraska–Lincoln)

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.

Extraordinary Human Sculpture Found in Turkey

Archaeologists from the University of Toronto have made an extraordinary find at the Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP) on the Amuq Plain in southeastern Turkey.

Suppiluliuma
Suppiluliuma Sculpture, Likely King of Pitina (Courtesy Jennifer Jackson)

Described as a “beautiful and colossal” sculpture, it dates back to the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Pitina, circa 1000-738 BC. The sculpture from the waist up is about 1.5meters tall and is ornately decorated with curly hair and a beard.

“These newly discovered Tayinat sculptures are the product of a vibrant local Neo-Hittite sculptural tradition,” said Professor Tim Harrison, the Tayinat Project director and professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in the University of Toronto’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. “They provide a vivid glimpse into the innovative character and sophistication of the Iron Age cultures that emerged in the eastern Mediterranean following the collapse of the great imperial powers of the Bronze Age at the end of the second millennium BC.”

The archaeologists believe that this sculpture and an accompanying ornately decorated base were part of a gate complex marking the territory of the king. They were found buried together under rock pavement of a road leading to the upper citadel of the royal city. It is believe that the gate conquest was destroyed following the Assyrian conquest of the region in 738 BC.

Isaiah 10:9-10 actually makes reference to a “Kingdom of Idols” and asks, “Has not Calno fared like Carchemish?” Many scholars believe that Calno referred to in the Bible is the kingdom of Kunulua or Tayanat. The destruction of these monuments by the Assyrians may be what the biblical oracle is referring to.

For more information about the TAP site, visit http://www.utoronto.ca/tap/index.html.