Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Some Mosaic Pieces

Roman Mosaic Discovered Under Italian Vineyard:

It was announced last week that a pristine Roman mosaic, hidden under the soil of a vineyard near Verona since the 3rd century, had been discovered in Italy. The mosaic is the floor of a house in the syle owned by wealthy residents. The site is believed to contain more artifacts and archaeological digs are continuing. 

Just think of how much time was spent creating such floors: planning, designing, making tiles, creating the patterns, grouting . . . and how many Roman feet, bare or sandaled, of landowners, children, soldiers, slaves, perhaps even a Roman emperor, walked on those beautiful tiled floors. 


Some ancient words that still have meaning today: 

In 2012 archaeologists in Turkey uncovered an ancient mosaic in the remains of a house from the 3rd century that features a skeleton enjoying a large loaf of bread and pitcher of wine. It was found during construction of a cable car and is believed to have been the emblema, the elaborate centerpiece of a mosaic floor, in the dining room of an elegant villa. On both sides of its head reads the phrase “Be cheerful and live your life,” written in Greek, words that still ring true 1800 years later. 


World’s largest mosaic: 

The world’s largest intact mosaic opened to the public in 2019 in Antakya, Turkey, as part of the newly built Antakya Museum Hotel. The 2300-year-old mosaic was discovered in 2010 during construction work for the hotel. It is believed that the vast mosaic was the floor of a public building in the ancient city of Antioch. It was damaged during a series of major earthquakes in 526 and 528 A.D., but some of that damage only enhances its spectacular visual qualities because the mosaic remained connected to the floor and mostly intact even as the foundation itself undulated wildly.   Pics below show the pronounced waves and undulations.

Construction of the mosaic is believed to have covered 15 centuries, with contributions from the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Crusaders and the Egyptians. 

Once discovered, archaeologists and architects worked together to create a hybrid: a museum hotel. The Antakya Museum Hotel is located near the Church of St. Peter, a crusader-era church built around a cave believed to be one of the earliest Christian churches in the world. 

They built a platform on top of the columns to house the hotel’s amenities — ballroom, conference rooms, pool, gym — with passageways and viewing points for guests to view the archaeological treasures beneath them. The rooms are prefabricated units stacked on top of each other, which reduced the amount of on-site construction and the potential damage to the mosaic. The walkways and bridges that connect the rooms create an open space where the archaeology is in sight throughout the building. 


A bathhouse octopus, and more:

Pebble mosaics dating from the 4th century BC have been unearthed in Arta, Greece. During excavations the floor of a bathhouse was revealed which displayed mosaics of swans, octopuses, and winged cherubic figures surrounded by a spiral border. Each design was formed using smooth river pebbles in white, off-white, and dark tones, with amber and red pebbles acting as accents. 


Magnificent mosaic valued at £5m by Antiques Roadshow: 

The above mosaic was appraised at £5,250,000 on a recent Antiques Roadshow. Dating from the Georgian period, it features peacocks highlighted with gold tiles surrounding a mirror farmed in an aged antique white frame. The golden highlights are accentuated by the outside gold frame, an antique clock being reflected in the mirror. 

No, that’s not true, I’m just messing with you. It’s a mosaic made by my wife, Kate, but it is true that it is beautiful. It measures 50cm x 60cm (20 x 24 inches) and is one of a number that Kate has done. 

Yay for the Day to Kate.

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