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Rare 1st century mosaic unearthed in ancient Edessa


Archaeological excavations around the historic Balıklı Lake in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa have unearthed floor mosaics dating back to the Kingdom of Osroene, known by the name of its capital city, Edessa (today’s Şanlıurfa).

Rare 1st-century mosaic unearthed in ancient Edessa
The mosaics, which bear Syriac inscriptions, are thought to date to the rule of Abgar V (BC 4 – AD 7),
the fifth king of the kingdom of Osroene (132 BC to AD 244) [Credit: AA]
Works have been continuing in an area of 4.5 hectares for six years. Nearly 80 rock graves from the Roman era have been restored so far and five more floor mosaics were recently discovered in the same area. After the restoration works, the mosaics will be displayed at the museum.

Officials said the floor mosaics featured Syriac inscriptions and fine engravings.

Şanlıurfa Mayor Nihat Çiftçi said it was a city of civilizations and that traces of the ancient could be found everywhere.

Speaking of the importance of the finds that were unearthed during the excavations, Çiftçi said: “The Roman-era graves have been cleaned within the scope of the excavations. During these works, we found very important mosaics; the mosaics from the Osroene period were engraved at the bottom of rock tombs. This shows the richness of Şanlıurfa. Also, especially at the entrance gates of the graveyards, there are finds featuring the culture of ancient civilizations. Archaeologists are carefully working in the area. All of the artifacts found here will be displayed at the rock tombs. In this way, tourists and locals will be able to see them. We know that Şanlıurfa has a rich cultural history, so we find artifacts from almost every period. We will reveal this richness and believe that it will make a great contribution to tourism. We will restore these venues and open them to tourism.”

Osroene Kingdom

The Kingdom of Osroene, known by the name of its capital city, Edessa, was located in Upper Mesopotamia.

Osroene was one of several kingdoms arising from the dissolution of the Seleucid Empire. The kingdom occupied an area in what is now the border region between Syria and Turkey.

The independence of the state ended in 244 A.D. when it was incorporated into the Roman Empire.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [October 28, 2016]
TANN

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