A newly-discovered Roman mosaic will now feature among the major displays at the Greco Roman Museum in Alexandria, currently under renovation and in the process of setting up a renewed museological display. The decision was taken in a meeting held between Khaled al-Anani, Egypt’s Antiquities Minister, and the committee In charge of the Museum’s new proposed exhibits.
According to Ayman Ashmawi, Head of the Ancient EgyptIan Antiquities Sector at the Ministry, the newly-discovered mosaic was chosen for prominent display not only because of its amazing beauty and finely conserved condition, but also because it highlights a style of mosaics for which Alexandria was famous during the Roman era. Such mosaics were used in dining rooms of the city’s Roman villas or houses.
The mosaic was uncovered by an Egyptian-Polish archaeological mission, including archaeologists from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw. The discovery was made in the Alexandria district of Kom al-Dikka, within the remains of a vast residential settlement. Mr Ashmawi explained that the settlement dated between the 4th and 7th AD centuries, and included a small theatre, a grand imperial bath and a unique group of 22 lecture halls — apparently the remains of an ancient university.
The mosaic discovered constituted the well-preserved floor in one of the houses. It is multi-coloured, composed of six hexagonal panels featuring lotus flowers, framed by a circular guilloche pattern. Lotus buds can also be seen in spandrels.
“Overall, the design of the mosaic, additionally equipped with a transversal field in front decorated with astragals and rosettes, is typical for the triclinia – the most imposing of the dining rooms in a Roman house,” said Grzegorz Majcherek, head of the excavation mission.
Kom El-Dikka is located in the heart of the ancient city of Alexandria, and has been excavated since 1960 by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
The Greco Roman Museum in Alexandria was built in 1892 and opened by Khedive Abbas Helmy II In 1895. In 1983, it was listed among Egypt’s heritage buildings. It includes 25 galleries, and a “Sculpture Garden” that hosts spectacular statues and artifacts.
28 July 2019