2,000-Year-Old Mosaics Unearthed Under Florida Art Museum

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tags: Florida, archaeology

After five mosaics dating back to ancient Antioch were acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg in the mid-1960s, museum officials buried two of them in the east lawn near the sculpture garden.

The reason why the Hellenistic art ended up underground has been lost in the subsequent decades. But as Maggie Duffy reports for Tampa Bay Times, a restoration project is underway to revive the mosaics and their history.

Duffy reports that mosaics were first discovered by a team from Prince­ton University in the 1930s during a dig in the ancient Greco-Roman city’s ruins near the modern-day borders of Turkey and Syria.

According to the museum’s website, it acquired the pieces in 1964 from the university. It was one of the first purchases made by the then-fledgling museum, which opened its doors to the public in 1965. Three of the mosaics were incorporated into various spaces in the brand-new museum: one was added to fountain in the museum’s sculpture garden, one was put on display in the membership garden, and one was placed under a stage.

Read entire article at Smithsonian

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