Syria finds 'rarest' Roman-era mosaic in Rastan
The mosaic is 1600 years old and depicts warriors in the Trojan War.
Syria unveiled on Wednesday a remarkably intact 1,600-year-old Roman-era mosaic that depicts warriors in the Trojan War, and authorities described it as one of the "rarest" ones ever found.
The mosaic is the latest discovered in Rastan in northern Syria's Homs district, which the government took back in 2018 from militants after years of bloodshed.
Hammam Saad, who leads excavations and archaeological studies at Syria's General Directorate of Museums, said that soldiers are seen in the mosaic holding swords and shields, and the names of Greek leaders who took part in the Trojan War appear as well.
"It is not the oldest of its kind, but it's the most complete and the rarest," Saad said. "We have no similar mosaic."
It was discovered beneath a building, and archaeologists have so far revealed a mosaic of some 20 meters long and six meters wide; however, it is believed that more is yet to be found.
Syria was home to some of the oldest and best-preserved jewels of ancient civilizations. Mosaics embellish many of the country's most famous archaeological sites, including the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, the Maarat Al-Numan Museum in Idlib, and the murals and floors of Palmyra.
In 2015, ISIS captured Palmyra and turned the ancient city into a stage for public executions. The group destroyed its famed Arch of Triumph, the shrine of Baal Shamin, and the Temple of Bel. Also, all of Syria's UNESCO world heritage sites underwent some level of damage.
In Homs, the ancient Umm Al-Zinar church was burnt down, the Khalid Ibn Al-Walid mosque was destroyed, and mosaics in Rastan were looted.
At the peak of the war, the chaos that engulfed Syria caused moveable pieces, such as statuettes, coins, and mosaic fragments, to be scattered around the world through the antiquities black market.