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Minister tours rare Akaki mosaics depicting scenes from chariot race (photos)

August 8, 2019 at 4:10pm
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Transport Minister Vassiliki Anastasiadou on Thursday visited an archaeological site in Akaki where excavations of a villa have uncovered a rare 4th century AD Roman mosaic with scenes from a chariot race.

Only nine similar mosaics showing a hippodrome race have been found at ancient Roman sites.

The ornate 26-metre-long mosaic was probably part of a wealthy man’s villa.

Anastasiadou said the find was of great importance, not only for Cyprus but the entire region

The Department of Antiquities completed this season’s excavations today and the site will be closed. Measures will be taken to protect the mosaics, she said.

A shelter will be installed and the aim is to allow visitors once the excavations are completed.

The mosaic depicts a chariot scene taking place in the hippodrome (circus scene) and rich geometric decoration.

The circus scene shows multiple quadrigae running around the spina (euripus).

Each quadriga is driven by a standing charioteer and is accompanied by two inscriptions indicating probably the names of the horses.

At the east end of the spina stand the meta, that is the point from which the quadrigae could turn, consisting of a circular platform on which three cones stand, each topped with an egg.

On the spina we also find three columns, each topped with a dolphin from which flows water, and an aedicule.

Between the quadrigae there is an equestrian figure and two standing figures, one holding a whip and the other a vessel with water.

The mosaic exhibits an impressive state of preservation and high quality of manufacture, the Department of Antiquities said.