Rare Ro­man mo­saic, be­lieved to de­pict the Labors of Her­cules, un­cov­ered in Cyprus dur­ing sew­er­age work

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

A rare Ro­man mo­saic has been un­cov­ered in Cyprus dur­ing sew­er­age work on the east­ern Mediter­ranean is­land, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

Only part of the mo­saic, mea­sur­ing 19 me­ters long and 7 me­ters wide, has been ex­ca­vated in the south­ern coastal city of Lar­naca and of­fi­cials be­lieve that more is still buried.

“A pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­ma­tion would sug­gest that scenes of the Labors of Her­cules are de­picted and that it is dated to the Ro­man pe­riod,” the an­tiq­ui­ties depart­ment said in a state­ment.

It said this is ev­i­dence that An­cient Ki­tion – on which mod­ern Lar­naca was built – played an im­por­tant role in es­tab­lish­ing Ro­man cul­ture in Cyprus.

“How­ever, up to this day Ro­man re­mains found in the city are very few. There­fore, the mo­saic floor that came to light pro­vides im­por­tant ev­i­dence for the de­vel­op­ment of the city dur­ing the Ro­man pe­riod.”

Cyprus was un­der the con­trol of the Ro­man Em­pire from 31 BC un­til the 4th cen­tury AD.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Mar­ios Deme­tri­ades, who vis­ited the site in Lar­naca, told re­porters that the depart­ment of an­tiq­ui­ties, which falls un­der his min- istry, planned to move the mo­saic to a mu­seum.

Deme­tri­ades, who is also min­is­ter of works and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said the mo­saic was im­por­tant be­cause “noth­ing sim­i­lar has been dis­cov­ered so far.”

“The in­ten­tion is to trans­fer it to a mu­seum, to build a spe­cific room [where it will be dis­played]... be­cause this is the best way to pro­tect it,” he said.

The east­ern Mediter­ranean is­land is home to many an­tiq­ui­ties and is rife with ex­ca­va­tions, in­volv­ing ex­perts from sev­eral coun­tries. On Tues­day the an­tiq­ui­ties depart­ment said a French-led team had un­cov­ered near the city of Li­mas­sol build­ings dat­ing back more than 11,000 years in what is thought to be “the ear­li­est man­i­fes­ta­tion of an agri­cul­tural and vil­lage way of life known to date, world­wide.”

An ar­chae­ol­o­gist works on a mo­saic de­pict­ing Her­cules in Lar­naca, yes­ter­day.

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