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A rare mosaic is unearthed in remote Cyprus

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 01:56

Archaeologists in Akaki begin restoration work on the nearly 2,000-year-old tile mosaic. Alicia Powell reports.

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Archaeologists in Cyprus uncover a virtually intact floor mosaic almost 2,000 years old. The mosaic depicts scenes from chariot races in a hippodrome, a rare discovery and thought to be only one of a handful from the ancient world. The 26-meter long mosaic, thought to be part of a gallery from a 4th century AD mansion, lay undisturbed for centuries until a farmer stumbled upon a mosaic fragment from another part of the mansion in 1937-1938 in a community west of Cyprus's capital Nicosia. SOUNDBITE: Dr Fryni Hadjichristofi, Chief Archaeologist, saying (English): "This is quite rare, as the circus scenes - like we have in Akaki - is not often depicted on mosaics. We have most frequently isolated horses or charioteers taking part, that have taken part in the hippodrome, but hippodrome itself, the race in the hippodrome is quite rare. We know, until now we have nine other, there are only nine other mosaics with this theme, have been preserved until now. So the mosaic in Cyprus is... the tenth one in the whole Roman world." Digging began in 2013 and the full mosaic was seen briefly for the first time in 2016, before authorities covered it up for protection. Recently archaeologists removed the layer of dirt to begin restoration works, but they expect it will take several years until it can be visited by the public. The mosaic's origin is still a mystery - it may have been part of the home of a rich person, but that will require further study and excavation.

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A rare mosaic is unearthed in remote Cyprus

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 01:56