Asphalt over Roman mosaic removed
BURSA – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoTurkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has taken action following news reports earlier this week that a Roman-era mosaic in the northwestern province of Bursa’s İznik district had been paved over with asphalt, removing the road covering to protect the works of art.
“It is out of question that the mosaic was damaged because of the asphalt pavement,” a museum official said. “But just in case, the asphalt over part of the mosaic was removed. The area of the mosaic was taken under protection and closed to traffic. When the expropriation process is completed, excavations will continue and a final decision will be made.”
Culture Minister Mahir Ünal ordered the removal of the asphalt and the implementation of protection measures for the mosaic.
According to information provided by the İznik Museum Directorate, the Roman-era floor mosaic was discovered in September last year during excavations for a sewer.
Following the discovery, a salvage archaeological dig was initiated in collaboration with the ministry and the museum directorate to unearth the museum.
The third-degree archaeological status of the area has also been increased to the first degree, while other excavation work has been halted because it was advancing beneath the structure close to the mosaic.
On Dec. 7, newspapers reported that the mosaic was paved over with asphalt, forcing the ministry to examine the situation.