Mystifying Mosaics

Elissa Sanci

An enormous Roman mosaic has been unearthed by a team from the University of Louisiana-Nebraska in Southern Turkey.

The first clues to this mosaic were found 10 years ago, when Purdue University professor Nick Rauh walked over the freshly-tilled land of the farm in Turkey. Bits of the mosaic had turned up in the soil, but at the time, he and his team of archeologists did not have the funds to go further with the excavation.

However, in 2005, Michael Hoff of University of Louisiana-Lincoln, and his team were able to get the funds and resources necessary to begin unearthing the Roman masterpiece.

The mosaic is 1,600 square feet of decorative, meticulously-crafted creation that is not even 50 percent uncovered yet. The mosaic would have been located in the courtyard area to the large bath attached to it. It is the largest Roman mosaic ever found in southern Turkey, which suggests that southern Turkey was more influenced by the Romans than history believed.

The team will return in 2013 accompanied by students and volunteers to continue the excavation. Hoff’s plan is to eventually cover the entire mosaic with a wooden shelter, so it stays safely preserved while open to the public for visits.

“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,” Hoff said. “I am already looking forward to next year, though I just returned from Turkey.”