Roman mosaic found under street of Hvar in Croatia


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In the centre of Stari Grad (Old Town) on the island of Hvar, after 98 years, a Roman era mosaic dating back to the 2nd century has been re-excavated. The mosaic, located in Sridnja Kola (Middle Street) in the very centre of Stari Grad, which has been under UNESCO protection since 2008, was first opened in 1923 for digging a canal for rainwater.

Roman mosaic found under street of Hvar in Croatia
Credit: Vilma Matulić

The museum is currently conducting protective archaeological research to preserve the site prior to the installation of a water and sewerage network that has not been completed since 1923 and is currently part of a major European project.

The excavations that the people of Hvar last saw almost 100 years ago, stretch for ten metres along the street and in the surrounding houses, and was part of a luxurious Roman villa urbana.

Roman mosaic found under street of Hvar in Croatia
Credit: Vilma Matulić

After the first excavation, the mosaic, located 60 centimetres below street level, was covered with slabs to protect the penetration of moisture and the sea. The glass cover that citizens want to be placed above the mosaic would not prove to be a good solution given that the sea level has risen half a metre since the mosaic was created. Moreover, the planned water pipes will be installed at a depth of half a metre, just above the mosaic.

Stari Grad sits on the remains of the Greek settlement of Pharos (Roman Faria) and medieval remains, and currently 14 archaeological test pits have been made in the surrounding streets in an attempt to locate other remains of the villa to ascertain whether the structure is a public or private building. 

Roman mosaic found under street of Hvar in Croatia
Credit: Vilma Matulić

“The Museum of Stari Grad, led by Andrea Devlahović, is planning to move the mosaic to the museum, and to replace it with a walking replica,” says Vilma Matulić from the museum.

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija [February 07, 2022]

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