Roman-era floor mosaic paved over with asphalt

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The İznik Municipality in the Turkish province of Bursa covered part of an ancient Roman floor mosaic, which was discovered during excavations last year and might belong to ruins of an ancient Roman palace, with an asphalt road, the Doğan news agency reported on Monday.

Roman-era floor mosaic paved over with asphalt
Roman-era floor mosaic paved over with asphalt
A Roman-era floor mosaic discovered last year in Bursa’s İznik district was covered 
with river sand and asphalt after the ministry did not expropriate the area 
[Credit: DHA]

According to Doğan, Roman mosaics were discovered by the İznik Municipality during an excavation in August of last year on Afyon Street in the Beyler neighborhood. After municipal workers found mosaics depicting human faces two meters below ground level, the İznik Museum Directorate started an archeological excavation at the site and found other mosaics depicting snakes and hexagonal shapes.

However, the museum stopped the excavation when it was revealed that it was on private property and demanded expropriation of the land by the government. As procedures for expropriation take a long time, the directorate covered the mosaics with geotextile material and sand in order to protect them.

During road repairs and asphalting works by the İznik Municipality in recent months, some protected parts of the mosaics were covered with asphalt.

İznik Mayor Osman Sargın told the Doğan news agency that the asphalted road only covers the entry to the mosaics, and the main part of the mosaics are within the private property which is to be expropriated.

The İznik Museum Directorate also told Doğan that Roman mosaics found during the excavations go under a livery stable which needs to be expropriated.

In November of last year, Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin visited the site of some 2,000-year-old mosaics in the ancient city of Zeugma in southeast Turkey and walked on them in high-heeled shoes, drawing much criticism.

The mayor was the target of significant disapproval for her carelessness in stepping on such important, historical pieces of art to pose for the press during the opening ceremony for three newly excavated mosaics in the ancient city hosted for members of the press and important figures.

In another incident in May of this year, a number of ancient Roman mosaics from an excavation site in Hatay province selected for display in a newly built museum were found seriously damaged during restoration.

The scandal regarding the restoration was first revealed by a local mosaic craftsman, Mehmet Daşkapan, who brought the issue to the attention of a daily. According to Daşkapan, more than 10 priceless pieces from the Roman period were ruined, becoming caricatures of their former versions. “Other mosaics are in poor condition and have lost their originality and value,” Daşkapan claimed.

Source: Todays Zaman [December 08, 2015]

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