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Roman-era mosaic left underneath dumpster in Turkey

A Roman-era mosaic has been sitting under a dumpster since its discovery two years in the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa’s İznik (Greek Nikaia) district during municipal works due to a disagreement between the owner of the land and authorities.

Roman-era mosaic left underneath dumpster in Turkey
Credit: Hurriyet Daily News
“This Roman-era mosaic should not be left this way,” said the former director of İznik Museum, Taylan Sevil, who is urging authorities to take action.

The two-metre-square floor mosaic was unearthed in 2015 during sewage works by the municipality in the Beyler neighbourhood. Depicting a human face, the mosaic was examined and revealed to date back to the Roman era.

Archaeologists, widening the soil layer around the mosaic by about 1 square metre, found that the mosaic continued with snake figures on it underneath a nearby house.

The mosaic was unearthed after rescue excavations were initiated under the coordination of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and İznik Museum.

Following the discovery of the mosaic, the area was registered as a first degree site, elevated from its previous recognition as a third degree site. But excavations came to a halt due to the dispute with the owner of the land where the mosaic is.

Having failed to reach a conclusion, authorities covered the mosaic with geotextile material and had sand poured on it.

The İznik Municipality completed the sewage works and laid asphalt on the road after three months. During the works, the area where the mosaic was found was asphalted, too, stirring further fury.

By the order of then-Culture and Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal, the asphalt on the mosaic was removed and pontoons were placed around it.

But the anger hasn’t defused. A dumpster was brought on top of it and the pontoons were removed.

“This Roman-era floor mosaic continues toward underneath a house which has a garden. This important artifact cannot be left this way. Unfortunately, there is a dumpster atop such a big mosaic. The mosaic dates back to the 3rd century AD and it is a unique finding in İznik. It shows us that noble Greek families lived in this region in the Roman era,” he said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [December 11, 2018]


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