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Large Roman Mosaic Discovered in Turkey Under a Field [SEE PHOTOS]

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: Sep 18, 2012 03:52 PM EDT

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A giant Roman mosaic has been found in southern Turkey. The mosaic features intricate geometric patterns and exemplifies the Roman empire at its peak.

The mosaic reportedly once decorated the floor of  a bath complex of a 25 foot pool.

Michael Hoff, a University of Nebraska, Lincoln art historian and director of the excavation believes that it dates back to the third or fourth century.

The mosaic itself is 1600 square feet.

"To be honest, I was completely bowled over that the mosaic is that big," Hoff said to LiveScience.

Hoff said that the mosaic is in pristine condition and it would have fronted an open-air marble swimming pool.

The mosaic is made up of large squares which has a geometric design on a white background and is the largest mosaic ever found in southern Turkey. The area of Turkey it was found in, Antiochia ad Cragnum suggests that the area was more influenced by the Romans than originally believed.

Hoff said in a statement, "Its large size signals, in no small part, that the outward signs of the empire were very strong in this far-flung area," Hoff said. "We were surprised to have found a mosaic of such size and of such caliber in this region - it's an area that had usually been off the radar screens of most ancient historians and archeologists, and suddenly this mosaic comes into view and causes us to change our focus about what we think (the region) was like in antiquity."

The team will return with students to fully complete the dig in June 2013. Hoff said the ultimate plan is to construct a wooden shelter so that the mosaic could be viewable to the public.

See photos of the mosaic here.

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