Part of a mosaic adjoining a large Roman bath has been uncovered on the southern Turkish coast, and is thought to be the largest such artwork in the region.
About 60 people helped excavate the 1,600-square-foot section of mosaic, which is estimated to be only 40 percent of its whole area. It is made up of large squares, each containing a unique geometric design in different colors.
“Its size signals, in no small part, that the outward signs of the empire were very strong in this far-flung area,” said excavation director Michael Hoff at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in a press release.
“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 decoration is part of what was once the city of Antiochia ad Cragum, which was founded in the first century by a Roman patron called Antiochus of Commagene.
The findings show that the city was more Romanized than realized. Its economy was based on agriculture, particularly wine and lumber, and it had some other Roman features like temples and colonnaded streets.
The mosaic seems to have been the bath’s forecourt with a roof covering it at least on one side where the remains of piers have been found.
The middle of the mosaic featured a marble-lined, 25-foot-long outdoor pool. The remaining half is expected to contain the same type of decoration, and will be unearthed next year.
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