Mosaics recently unearthed in Şanlıurfa, Turkey (all photos courtesy Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality)
excavating an ancient necropolis at the site of the historic the historic Urfa
castle in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa found mosaic portraits of two men
and two women.
ishtartv.com - hyperallergic.com
By Claire Voon, 15-11-0216
series of curious mosaics have emerged during archaeological excavations of
rock tombs in Turkey, representing individual portraits of the long-deceased.
Archaeologists working on the historic Castle of Urfa in the southeastern city
unearthed the floor tiles, according to the announcement from the Şanlıurfa
Metropolitan Municipality, and they estimate that the images date to the
first or second centuries CE.
team had unearthed the ancient necropolis on the castle’s site about 10 months
ago and have since found nearly 80 additional rock-cut tombs. The newly
discovered mosaics frame two men and two women in four separate squares
within a border of repeating motifs. Each is rendered similarly: simply,
from the bust up, in tiles of a limited palette, and accompanied by
much is currently known about the figures; who they are and the nature of their
relationship remains a mystery, for now. Preliminary dating of the mosaics
makes it likely they lived between 132 BCE and 639 CE, when Şanlıurfa was known
as the Kingdom of Edessa, where the Syriac dialect first developed and
production of Syriac literature flourished.
archaeologists have decided the decorated floor will remain in situ. Once the
excavation project ends, the site will be opened to tourists, who will be
able to gaze upon the figurative memorials — much more somber and sober images
of death than that skeleton mosaic recently found about 200
miles away in Antioch.
Detail of mosaics recently unearthed in Şanlıurfa, Turkey