Decorative ancient mosaic discovered in Alexandria
The find at Kom El-Dikka confirms the popularity of ornate design between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD in Roman Alexandria
Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 18 Jul 2019
Once again, Kom El-Dikka archaeological site in Alexandria has furnished an important discovery.
An Egyptian-Polish archaeological mission, including archaeologists from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw, has uncovered the remains of a vast residential settlement. Inside of one of houses found is a well-preserved mosaic floor.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the discovery of the mosaic floor does not only show the affluence of the residents of those homes, but also to the popularity of mosaic art in Alexandria.
Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, explained that the settlement dates between the 4th and 7th centuries AD and includes a small theatre, a grand imperial bath and a unique group of 22 lecture halls — apparently the remains of an ancient university.
Grzegorz Majcherek, head of the excavation mission, said that in recent years excavation work concentrated on the study of the still mostly unknown residential architecture of Roman Alexandria between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. The buildings of that period are known to have often been lavishly decorated, confirmed in the discovery of the mosaic floor.
He added that the main square of the multi-coloured mosaic is 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 Majcherek.
The composition, featuring a circle inscribed into a square, exceptionally popular in Roman Egypt, is considered distinctive for Alexandrian style.
Kom El-Dikka is located in the heart of the ancient city and has been excavated since 1960 by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
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