Roman-era mosaics under protection
Some 1600-year-old floor mosaics, dating back to the Eastern Romans, which were unearthed in the Balatlar Building Community excavations in Turkey’s northern province of Sinop, will be brought into tourism.
The findings obtained in the excavations, which started in 2010 in the city, provide important information about the Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman periods.
Restoration work was initiated to bring the floor mosaics, which were unearthed in the excavations along with the burial chambers, sculptures, church remains and a bath, which have been so far presumed to belong to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, into tourism.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University academic and head of the Balatlar excavations, Professor Gülgün Köroğlu said that the floor mosaics found in the excavations belonged to the period when the building was used as a church.
Stating that it was determined that the mosaics were made to cover the graves of certain people, Köroğlu said: “They were made by local masters. There are even inscriptions showing whom they were made for.”
Explaining that the mosaics also helped them unearth the workshop part of the building, Köroğlu said: “These mosaics are associated with the tombs of the Eastern Romans, that is, the Byzantines. While making the mosaics, Christian-themed figures were chosen.”
Noting that mosaics also include compositions related to the afterlife, he said: “Of course, the most important thing is that the name of the person, who was buried under it, is written on the mosaics. This is important because generally, it is not possible to find mosaics with the names in the excavations.”
“We found a small child’s grave under one of them. We think that the child was put in there later as the mosaic panel is in a damaged state,” he added.
Köroğlu also said they have started the restoration work to display the floor mosaics in the excavation area.
“Our team of five people is carrying out a meticulous restoration work on floor mosaics, which we don’t encounter much all the time. I think this work will be completed in about two years,” Köroğlu said.
“When the works are completed, they will be displayed in a sheltered way in the excavation area. They are important in terms of tourism,” he added.