Syria discovers the “rarest” mosaic of the Roman era


Syria has discovered a large, intact mosaic dating from the Roman era in the central city of Rastan, saying it is the most important archaeological find since the conflict began 11 years ago. The mosaic, measuring 120 square meters (about 1,300 square feet), was found in an ancient building that the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums had been excavating. Lebanese and Syrian businessmen from the neighboring country’s Nabu Museum bought the 4th-century property 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 Archaeological Excavation and Research at the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, said the mosaic depicts ancient Amazon warrior women as depicted in Roman mythology. In ancient Greek and Roman mythology, the demigod hero Hercules killed 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. Syrian heritage sites have been looted and destroyed during the last decade of ongoing violent conflict. Among the most notable incidents was the Islamic State group seizing Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site boasting towering 2,000-year-old Roman-era colonnades and priceless artifacts, and partially destroying a Roman theatre. Meanwhile, the cash-strapped Syrian government has been slowly rebuilding Aleppo’s centuries-old bazaar after retaking it from armed opposition forces in 2016. Rastan was once a major opposition stronghold and was a point of intense fighting, before the Syrian government recaptured the city in 2018.


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