‘Rare’ Massive Ancient Roman Mosaic ‘Rich in Detail’ Discovered in Syria

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Syria
People look at a large mosaic dating back to Roman times in the city of Rastan, Syria, October 12, 2022.

Omar Sanadiki/AP


Rastan, Syria – Syria has discovered a large intact mosaic that dates back to Roman times, describing it on Wednesday as the most important archaeological discovery since the country conflict started 11 years ago. Journalists saw the mosaic in the central town of Rastan near Homs, Syria’s third largest city.

The mosaic, about 1,300 square feet, was found in an old building that Syria’s General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums had excavated. Lebanese and Syrian businessmen from the neighboring country’s Nabu Museum bought the property, which dates back to the 4th century, and donated it to the Syrian state. Each panel was filled with small square-shaped colored stones measuring about half an inch on each side.

Dr. Humam Saad, associate director of excavations and archaeological research at the directorate, said that among the scenes, the mosaic shows a rare depiction of ancient Amazonian warriors in Roman mythology.

“What is before us is a globally rare find,” Saad told The Associated Press, adding that the images are “rich in detail” and include scenes from the Trojan War between the Greeks and the Greeks. Trojans.

Syria
A detail of a large mosaic dating back to Roman times is seen in the city of Rastan, Syria, October 12, 2022.

Omar Sanadiki/AP


In ancient Greek and Roman mythology, the demigod hero Hercules slew Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, in one of his 12 labors.

The mosaic also depicts Neptune, the ancient Roman god of the sea, and 40 of his mistresses.

“We can’t identify the type of building, whether it’s a bathhouse or something else, because we haven’t finished digging yet,” Saad told the AP.

Sulaf Fawakherji, a famous actress in Syria and a board member of the Nabu Museum, said she hopes to be able to buy more buildings in Rastan, which she says has plenty of heritage sites and artifacts to discover.

“There are other buildings, and it’s clear that the mosaic extends much wider,” Fawkherji told the AP. “Rastan is historically an important city, and it could be a very important heritage city for tourism.”

Syria
People look at a large mosaic dating back to Roman times in the city of Rastan, Syria, October 12, 2022.

Omar Sanadiki/AP


Despite Rastan’s historical significance in the country, Saad says there were no major excavation efforts in the city before the country’s armed conflict.

“Unfortunately, armed groups attempted to sell the mosaic at some point in 2017 and listed it on social media platforms,” ​​he said.


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Syrian heritage sites have been looted and destroyed over the past decade of ongoing violent conflicts.

Among the most notable incidents was ISIS takes Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to towering Roman-era colonnades and priceless 2,000-year-old artifacts, and partially destroying a Roman theater. Meanwhile, the cash-strapped Syrian government is slowly rebuilding Aleppo’s centuries-old bazaar after reclaiming it from opposition armed forces in 2016.

Rastan was once a major opposition stronghold and was a point of intense clashes, before the Syrian government retook the town in 2018.

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