Giant Roman Mosaic Discovered Under Turkish Farm

By Amir Khan on September 18, 2012 11:50 AM EDT

Mosaic
A new relic from the ancient Roman Empire was recently discovered in Turkey, revealing just how far Rome's influence spread during its heyday (Photo: University of Nebraska)

A new relic from the ancient Roman Empire was recently discovered in Turkey, revealing just how far Rome's influence spread during its heyday. A giant poolside mosaic was discovered under a Turkish farm, and likely dates back to the third or fourth century.

The mosaic once decorated the floor of a bath complex, researchers said, and most likely surrounded a 25-foot long pool. The mosaic itself is 1,600 square feet -- approximately the size of a house.

"To be honest, I was completely bowled over that the mosaic is that big," Michael Hoff, director of the mosaic excavation and an art historian at the University of Nebraska, told Fox News.

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Researchers initially suspected that something might lay under the farm in 2002, when a researcher from Purdue University walked through a freshly plowed field. The plow pulled pieces of mosaic tile to the top, and while the researcher conducted other archeologists, there was not enough funding to excavate the site, so they left it alone.

Last year, with a new permit, researchers began excavating the site and revealing the mosaic. So far, approximately 40 percent of the mosaic has been revealed, and researchers say it's in "pristine" condition.

The design is composed of large squares, each with its own geometric design. It's the largest ever found in Turkey, indicating that Roman influence spread further than previously thought.

The team will return to with students, volunteers and other people to continue excavating the mosaic next year. Hoff said his ultimate goal is to construct a shelter around the mosaic and open it to the public.

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