An international team of archaeologists has unearthed three 2,200-year-old, well-preserved glass mosaics at the site of the ancient city of Zeugma in Turkey.
The ancient city of Zeugma, also known as Seleukia-on-the-Euphrates, is located in modern Gaziantep province, where the Euphrates river rounds its furthest bend to the west and begins to flow south into the Syrian desert.
It was founded in 300 BC by Seleucus I Nicator – one of the generals of Alexander the Great – who named the city after himself.
In 64 BC the city was conquered by the Roman Empire and with this shift the name of the city was changed into Zeugma.
Across the Taurus Mountains from Anatolia and across the Euphrates from Mesopotamia, the city was forever between large cultural forces, but never completely part of any one. The population of the city at its peak was about 80,000 inhabitants.
The city is well known for its architecture, which spans centuries and gives a glimpse into Hellenistic and Roman civilization on the Euphrates frontier.
Zeugma mosaics have long been recognized for their exquisite detail and beauty. One of the most famous is the Gypsy Girl.
This year, the team led by Prof Kutalmis Görkay of Ankara University unearthed three remarkably intact glass mosaics at the site.
The finds are estimated to be 2,200 years old. The first depicts the nine Muses – the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts. Muse Calliope is in the center of the mosaic.
The second mosaic depicts Ocean – the divine personification of the sea – and his sister Tethys. The third, smaller in size mosaic, depicts a young man.
According to the team, all mosaics are constructed of colored glass and served as floors of a building that archaeologists have dubbed the House of Muses.