The Story Behind This Rare Roman Mosaic Discovered In Cyprus

Another unearthed gem waiting for us to see.

Facebook Department of Antiquities Cyprus

Facebook/Department of Antiquities Cyprus

Just when we think most of the world’s archeological artifacts have been discovered, waiting for us to see, here’s another rare find.

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Fryni Hadjichristofi, an archeologist at Cyprus’s Department of Antiquities, who noticed a curious artifact underneath a road 20 minutes away from Nicosia, Cyprus where she was performing an excavation. As it turned out, it was a 4th century mosaic, depicting a full chariot race in an ancient Roman hippodrome with four chariots, including drivers and horses.

The only other similar mosaic was discovered in Cyprus and there are merely a few that exists in the world.

Last year, Hadjichristofi along with seven other team members discovered the mosaic. At first, Hadjichristofi didn’t think the small bit shown beneath the road was of something significant. Eventually, after a full-scale excavation, a 36 feet and 13 feet wide gorgeous mosaic appeared, in strong condition.

Experts suspect the mosaic might have been a part of the floor of a villa that was once owned by someone wealthy during the Roman era on the island of Cyprus.

The value and importance of the mosaic is based on its portrayal, since it’s rare to show a full chariot in four phases of the race with Greek letters above every chariot, indicating the name of a driver and the other is for names of the horses. The names also symbolize particular traits of the drivers and the horses.

Cyprus-mail.com mosaic

Photo: Cyprus-Mail

Since excavation can’t be performed neither under rainy conditions nor during winter months, Hadjichristofi verifies that her team will need two more years to completely unearth the entire mosaic. Due to the great preservation of the mosaic, restoration won’t require much work. Afterwards, all of us will be able to view the rare find once it’s opened for public viewing.

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