If you heard the opening soundtrack from an Indiana Jones movie mysteriously playing in the air this week, there’s a reason.
An archeological find was recently unearthed in Syria, a find that is “rare on a global scale,” according to what Hamman Saad, a senior official at Syria’s General Directorate of Museums and Antiquities reported to AP News.
The large intact mosaic, unearthed in Rastan near Homs, Syria’s third largest city, dates back to the Roman era. It is “the most important archaeological discovery since the country’s conflict began 11 years ago.”
Journalists were allowed to view the work which measures at 120 square meters (around 1300 square feet) and was located in an old building.
“Lebanese and Syrian businessmen from the neighboring country’s Nabu Museum bought the property that dates back to the 4th century and donated it to the Syrian state. Each panel was filled with square-shaped, small colorful stones measuring about half an inch on each side.”
WION quotes Saad describing the theme of the mosaic. “Soldiers are depicted wielding swords and shields bearing the names of Greek generals who participated in the Trojan War. Despite not being the oldest of its kind, Saad asserted that it was the most complete and unusual. There isn’t a mosaic like that here.”
The Syrians anticipate finding even more mosaics now that they’ve discovered this one. Happy news for the country that was once known as “a treasure trove for archaeologists, with some of the oldest and best-preserved artefacts from ancient civilizations.”
The war that has waged in Syria for over 10 years has, sadly, “rendered portions of Syria’s legendary past irreparably destroyed.”
BBC News describes the mosaic further, stating it is “rich in detail, portraying the Roman sea god Neptune and 40 of his mistresses, as well as Hercules slaying the Amazon queen Hippolyta.”
While war can devastate a nation’s treasures and divide its people, a discovery of ancient art like this mosaic — hidden from conflict and yet preserved by the earth — renews hopes and brings people together.