In a recent rescue excavation conducted in the rural expanse of Kela Hanma (Lady’s Castle), located approximately 30 kilometers from the district center in the Kızıltepe district of Mardin, southeastern Turkey, archaeologists have unearthed stunning mosaics believed to date back to the Roman era.
The excavation, prompted by reports of illicit excavations and architectural destruction in the area, has revealed a treasure trove of artifacts.
Led by Abdulgani Tarkan, the director of the Mardin Museum, the rescue excavation commenced on October 2nd and included the expertise of archaeologist Volkan Bağcılar, Museum expert archaeologist Mehmet Şan, and a dedicated team, with additional contributions from the teams of the Diyarbakır Restoration and Conservation Regional Laboratory Directorate.
The excavation site, situated in the Uzunkaya Neighbourhood, known for its proximity to the district center, was named Kela Hanma, and officials initiated the excavation in response to a report of illegal activities damaging the architectural integrity of the area. What unfolded during the investigation surpassed expectations, as the team discovered a Villa Rustica—a rural settlement enclosed by walls—with a central structure and smaller auxiliary buildings distributed around it.
One of the most remarkable finds was a mosaic floor spanning approximately 100 square meters. The intricately designed mosaic showcased a variety of patterns, including fish scales, triangles, hexagons, octagons, arch formations, trees, waterfowl, octopuses, fish, mussels, seals, and aquatic plant imagery.
Director Abdulgani Tarkan noted that the forested area between Kızıltepe and Artuklu districts harbors more than just a rural villa. It contains diverse architectural remnants, including living quarters and a necropolis dating back to the fifth to seventh centuries.
Tarkan stated, “These mosaics, adorned with animal figures and rare sea creatures like octopuses and various fish species, are distinctive in this region.”
Volkan Bağcılar, the expert archaeologist involved in the excavation, commented on the significance of the mosaics, stating, “The intricate designs and the diverse array of depicted elements provide a unique glimpse into the lifestyle and artistic expressions of the Roman inhabitants of this region.”
Plans are already underway to carefully remove and exhibit these unparalleled mosaic artifacts at the Mardin Museum.