A rediscovered mosaic from 2nd Century AD found in the ancient city of Cilician Aphrodisias, known today as Tisan, in the Silifke district of Mersin, Turkiye.

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
December 2, 2023
Roman-era mosaics found in ancient Side

In the excavations carried out within the scope of the development plan for the purpose of conservation in the ancient city of Side in the southern province of Antalya’s Manavgat district, Roman-era mosaics and church ruins with various animal figures have been unearthed.

One of the important ancient cities and tourism centers in Turkey, Side’s history dates back 2,700 years. Even though archaeological excavations have been ongoing in the city since 1940s, there are still various historical artifacts lying underground.

Side, which did not have a masterplan because it was the first degree ancient site, was converted to the 3rd degree urban site in 2013 in order to meet the needs of the residents and prevent illegal construction, and a master plan was prepared for its conservation.

The Ancient Side Urban Design Project, prepared by Manavgat Municipality by demolishing illegal buildings and additions in Side, the buildings will be reconstructed in accordance with the historical texture.

Roman-era mosaics found in ancient Side

During the works initiated in 2016, while Manavgat Municipality renovated many streets and squares in accordance with the historical texture, business and building owners demolished their existing buildings and rebuilt them in accordance with the revised master plan.

Within the scope of the works carried out under the supervision of Side Museum and excavation teams, and with the permission of Antalya Regional Board of Preservation of Cultural Heritage, many historical monuments have been unearthed.

The first finding was the letter sent by the Roman Emperor Gallienus to Side, which was written in 266 or 267 A.D. in the region, belonging to Haluk Şen. The letter, processed on a stone, was found in 2017.

The original letter is on display at the Side Museum. An exact copy of it was also made and left to its original location covered with glass for tourists to see it.

Mosaics with animal figures

In November last year, mosaics, estimated to belong to the Roman period, were unearthed during the works carried out on a field belonging to a person, whose identity was not reported.

It was seen that there were various bird figures on the mosaics, which were found on the floor of a building and taken under protection by the Side Museum Directorate. It is stated that after the construction, the floor of the building will be covered with thick and unbreakable glass and illuminated and will be exhibited to local and foreign tourists.

Roman-era mosaics found in ancient Side

In the excavation carried out elsewhere under the same plan, the ruins of a church have been uncovered. After the church was completely exposed at the floor level, it was closed to prevent it from deforming and until the construction is finished.