Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
A series of curious mosaics have emerged during archaeological excavations of rock tombs in Turkey, representing individual portraits of the long-deceased. Archaeologists working on the historic Castle of Urfa in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa unearthed the floor tiles, according to the announcement from the Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality, and they estimate that the images date to the first or second centuries CE.
The team had unearthed the ancient necropolis on the castle’s site about 10 months ago and have since found nearly 80 additional rock-cut tombs. The newly discovered mosaics frame two men and two women in four separate squares within a border of repeating motifs. Each is rendered similarly: simply, from the bust up, in tiles of a limited palette, and accompanied by Syriac inscriptions.
Not much is currently known about the figures; who they are and the nature of their relationship remains a mystery, for now. Preliminary dating of the mosaics makes it likely they lived between 132 BCE and 639 CE, when Şanlıurfa was known as the Kingdom of Edessa, where the Syriac dialect first developed and production of Syriac literature flourished.
The archaeologists have decided the decorated floor will remain in situ. Once the excavation project ends, the site will be opened to tourists, who will be able to gaze upon the figurative memorials — much more somber and sober images of death than that skeleton mosaic recently found about 200 miles away in Antioch.
Frey ponders why she felt comfort in television and film content that intellectuals often take pride in dismissing.
What does Rutherford Falls, a new TV series that prominently features two small town museums, tell us about the way people see the contentious stories on display in history and art institutions?
Over 50 years of the artist’s video and media work on how images, sound, and cultural iconography inform representation is on view through December 30.
The French television program does a good job exploring how people cope with work-related drama and its impact on relationships.
From European detective dramas to art documentaries, Yau reflects on some highlights from a year inside.
Over the course of three months, the resident artists in Going to the Meadow will collaborate and create with a curated set of continually changing materials.