Priceless Roman Mosaics Ruined In Botched Restoration

Roman mosaics

After an act of ‘so-called’ restoration akin to the horrors of ‘Ecce Homo’ – a mural depicting Christ with a crown of thorns, became an internet sensation when it was disfigured by Seniora Gimenez, while she attempted to restore it. The 120-year-old fresco had been transformed into something which resembled a character from “Planet of the Apes” – according to Turkish media, the country’s culture ministry is investigating reports that a number of valuable Roman mosaics were badly damaged during botched restoration at an archaeological museum.

Authorities are looking into the claims of a Mehmet Daskapan a local craftsman, after he raised concerns over the condition of at least 10 mosaics at the Hatay Archaeology Museum, the Hurriyet Daily News website reports.

Daskapan first spoke out in an interview with a local paper in February, but has taken until now to be picked up by mainstream Turkish media. “Valuable pieces from the Roman period have been ruined,” Mr Daskapan told the Antakya Gazetesi website at the time. “They have become caricatures of their former selves. Some are in an especially poor condition and have lost their originality and value.”

Before and after photos of the mosaics presented by Mr Daskapan show the “restored” versions looking significantly different to the originals. Some stones appear to have been replaced with different colours and shapes, significantly changing the facial expressions of the characters depicted. A report on the Radikal website has suggested the images could have been Photoshopped – having said that the site later noted that the region’s governor had nonetheless closed off the section housing the mosaics in question.

Turkey’s culture ministry has suspended all restoration work at the site as a precaution. The site houses mosaics dating from the 2nd Century to the 6th Century AD, the website says. The museum opened a new building in December, and curators are currently in the process of moving artefacts into the space. When this is complete, it will devote 5,000 square metres (54,000 square feet) to displaying mosaics.


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