Turkey hopeful US will return Orpheus Mosaic

Turkish archaeologists are hopeful that Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay will announce the return of the Orpheus Mosaic to Turkey from the Dallas Museum of Art in the U.S. on the eve of new year, daily Hurriyet reported.

Turkey hopeful US will return Orpheus Mosaic
Orpheus Taming Wild Animals [Credit: Dallas Museum of Art]
Gunay had previously hinted that the ministry would return a specific historical artifact that was originally discovered in Turkey but was subsequently taken abroad, without specifying which item it would be. Rumors in the archaeology world suggest that it will be the Orpheus Mosaic, which was smuggled from the southeastern province of Sanl?urfa in 1950.

A delegation from the Culture and Tourism Ministry has reportedly left for Chicago for the handover process, and will return to Turkey on Dec. 5 with the Orpheus Mosaic.

Dallas Museum of Art Director Jill Bernstein has said they will issue an official statement on the subject next month.

The Orpheus Mosaic (A.D. 194) is known as the earliest Edessa mosaic that archaeologists have dated so far. The Greek city of Edessa was founded by King Seleucus I Nicator.

The mosaic was taken abroad by smugglers after its discovery by J.B. Segal in 1950 in Sanl?urfa. Turkey's Aktuel Arkeoloji (Contemporary Archaeology) magazine earlier this year launched a campaign to return the Orpheus Mosaic back to Turkey. 

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [November 29, 2012]

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