Syria, Roman mosaic in Homs

Syria makes the largest archaeological discovery of the last decade

A spectacular 120-square-meter Roman mosaic has been discovered by archaeologists in Homs, southern Syria.

Syria has unveiled the country’s biggest archaeological discovery of the last decade: a huge intact Roman mosaic dating back some 1,800 years, considered the most important find in archeology and history since war broke out in this Middle East country 11 years ago.

The mosaic, discovered in the town of Al-Rastan near Homs, in the south of the country, covers an area of ​​120 square meters and was found in an old building where the Syrian General Agency for Antiquities and Museums has been carrying out excavations, after Syrian and Lebanese businessmen bought the property, which dates back to the fourth century AD, and donated it to the Syrian State.

Dr. Humam Saad, the Agency’s associate director of excavations, explained to media that some of the scenes that can be seen in the mosaic represent a curious image of ancient Amazon warriors from Roman mythology. “What we have before us is an unusual discovery on a global scale,” said Saad, highlighting the wealth of detail offered by the mosaic, where scenes from the Trojan War can also be seen.

Syria, Roman mosaic in Homs depicting Amazons

Other scenes in the spectacular mosaic show the ancient mythological hero Hercules as well as the Roman god of the sea, Neptune. “We can’t identify what kind of building this is, whether it was Roman baths or something else, because we haven’t finished digging yet,” Saad said. The area does in fact contain other ancient buildings, and the mosaic seems to extend over a larger area than is currently visible, so it could be much larger.

It is now hoped that this important archaeological discovery in Syria could attract tourism to a country that has suffered great destruction of its historical and cultural heritage during the war; in fact, armed groups are known to have tried to sell parts of this mosaic not many years ago. One of the greatest tragedies for the archaeological wealth of Syria occurred in 2015, when the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) took control of the ruins of Palmyra, a World Heritage Site, destroying many of its monuments.