Illegal excavations unearth Roman villa
“If this area is expropriated and unqualified buildings are demolished, scientific archaeological excavations can be carried out and the entire villa can be exposed,” İzmir Archaeology Museum Director Hünkar Keser said, giving information about the ruins.
Upon the notification that illegal excavations were carried out, the İzmir Police Department’s Anti-Smuggling Branch teams made an operation in the garden of a residence, located between the narrow streets near the Agora Ruins and the historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, about a month ago.
Three people were caught while trying to excavate the historical remains about 10 meters below the ground by digging a tunnel, and experts from the İzmir Archaeological Museum made an examination in the region.
During the examinations, a 2,000-year-old mosaic from the early Roman period and ruins of a Roman villa were found in the area. Officials expect to find a similar mosaic featuring two Eros figures holding a rooster in the Roman villa, which is believed to belong to a rich Roman man.
Speaking about the findings, Keser said, “In the first stage, we will do the conservation of the area and fill in the illegal excavation pits. Only then can we start scientific excavations.”
Stating that the findings give very important information about the field of civil architecture in the region, he said: “This is a two-story villa. It has a courtyard, and there are supposed to be rooms around the courtyard. There should be a kitchen, living room, dining room and other rooms on the lower floor, and bedrooms and similar rooms on the upper floor. Life was entirely around the courtyard. There are no windows. Here they gather light, sun and water and provide all the essentials of life.”
“There is a very beautiful mosaic on the floor, depicting two Eros figures holding cocks and preparing for cockfights. It is a multi-colored mosaic. Just behind it, we see a water pipe. Clean and dirty water went down these pipes. It also gives information about the heating system of the period. We can find underfloor heating systems here,” he added.