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Roman 'bath-time fun' mosaic uncovered in Turkey

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 19th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A massive Roman mosaic in southern Turkey has been uncovered by archaeologists. The find proves that the ancient Empire's influence reached far across the European continent. Uncovered by a farmer in his field next to a still-standing bathing structure, the mosaic is 1,600 square feet of meticulously crafted ancient workmanship, built at the height of the Roman Empire's power in the third and fourth centuries AD.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "This region is not well understood in terms of history and archaeology," University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Michael Hoff says.

"It's not a place in which archaeologists have spent a lot of time, so everything we find adds more evidence to our understanding of this area of the Roman Empire.

"We're beginning to understand now that it was more romanized, more in line with the rest of the Roman world than was suspected before. (The nature of the mosaic) hammers home how Roman this city truly is."

Researchers speculate that the mosaic was the floor of a roofed forecourt for the large bath beside it. The bath featured a marble-lined, 25-foot-long pool that would have remained outside. Researchers also think that a second half to the mosaic, which still has to be uncovered, will have the same patterns of decoration.

The team has been digging on the south Turkish coast since 2005, excavating the remains of the ancient city of Antiochia ad Cragnum, founded by Antiochus of Commagene, a client-king of Rome, in the middle of the first century.

Antiochia ad Cragnum held all the typical wonders of the ancient Roman world such as temples, baths, markets and colonnaded streets. A third-century imperial temple and a colonnaded street lined with shops have both now been excavated.

The archaeologists were doing a survey in the area in 2001 when Hoff noticed that a local farmer's ploughing had brought up bits of a mosaic, but it was only last year that the museum in Alanya invited him to dig up the whole thing and preserve it.

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