2,000-year-old mosaic put under protection in western Turkey

Mosaic, symbolizing gods’ love in Greek mythology, found in operation on illegal excavations in Izmir province

15:47 - 19/12/2021 Pazar
File photo
File photo

A 2,000-year-old mosaic dating to the Roman era, located in the Konak district of Aegean Izmir province in Turkey and symbolizing the love of the gods in mythology, has been put under protection.

Preliminary work of Izmir museum experts has been completed on the mosaic seized during the operation by police teams in the illegal excavation in the garden of a house in Ikicesmelik district.

Reached by a tunnel extending 8 kilometers (26,246 feet) below the ground, the mosaic was put under protection by adhering to its architectural structure and naturalness intact, the period in which it was made, materials used and its original nature.

At the first examination, it was assessed that the figures decipher the love between gods in Greek mythology, while the god of love, Eros, is depicted with roosters in his hands.

It is assumed that the roosters symbolize the watcher Alektryon, who was punished for leading to the appearance of the forbidden love of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, with Ares, the god of war.

Hunkar Keser, director of the Izmir Archaeological Museum, told Anadolu Agency that excavations were carried out in the peristyle-style courtyard, a Greek architectural style that could be described as a rectangular open-top courtyard surrounded by colonnaded corridors in ancient architecture.

Noting that a Roman-era structure appeared in the courtyard of the house where the illegal excavation was carried out, Keser said the team immediately took protection measures around the building and mosaic, which has a unique historical feature.

"This courtyard is 50 meters (164 feet) from the Smyrna Agora and 100 meters [328 feet] from the Grand Theater. We are in an area that we can call the ancient Smyrna center.

“We can say that they are the first examples in the field of civil architecture of the Roman period. A broad examination of the area has not yet been done. First, it is necessary to nationalize the territory and demolish some buildings," he said.

Keser added that the area is under constant protection by police.

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