Louise tells of the rescue of Roman mosaics

Wharfedale Observer: The Zeugma mosaics The Zeugma mosaics

The February lecture for Skipton and Wharfedale Decorative and Fine Art Society was given by Louise Schofield on rescuing the Zeugma mosaics from the floodwaters of the Birecik dam.

When the Birecik dam on the Euphrates River was constructed and the valley flooded in 2001 the race was on to save the ancient Roman mosaics in a lost city.

The city of Zeugma was sacked in the 3rd century, then covered by a landslide.

The building of a dam by the Turkish authorities brought to light the existence of the hidden city, and its treasures, which were then not only in danger of being covered forever by the waters of the dam, but also from thieves.

Louise Schofield was in charge of the British excavations and, with archaeologists from Turkey, France, Germany, and US, worked against the clock to excavate, preserve and lift the mosaics, many of which are now housed in a museum at Gazientep in Turkey which is the largest mosaic museum in the world.

Her excellent talk covered the work of the excavation and pictures of some of the magnificent mosaics.

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