Gypsy Girl mosaic fragments back in Turkey
STOLEN fragments from one of Turkey’s most striking ancient treasures – the 2,000-year-old “Gypsy Girl” mosaic – have been put on display after being returned to their homeland.
The pieces were looted from the old city of Zeugma in the 1960s and smuggled out to the US.
They were only discovered to be missing 20 years ago when the image of the girl with a piercing gaze was found by Turkish archaeologists excavating Zeugma, which is near the southern city of Gaziantep.
The plundered fragments had been bought by Bowling Green State University in Ohio, which displayed them until 2012 when their true provenance was established and Turkey asked for their return.
The university initially asked Turkey to buy them back, a request which Ankara rejected.
After more than five years of talks, an agreement was signed for their return. “The university has signed off on a very important and significant cooperation by returning these pieces to our country as goodwill,” a Turkish spokesman said.
Turkey will provide the university with exact replicas to display.
The old city of Zeugma, which lay on the Euphrates river, flourished under Greek and then Roman rule before it was destroyed in war in the 3rd century AD.
The Gypsy Girl mosaic is the most prominent symbol of that history.