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Lion Mosaic Unearthed in Ancient City where Bust of Alexander Was Discovered

Lion mosaic
The mosaic was discovered at the top of the ancient city’s theater. Credit: Facebook/Faruk Özlu/Düzce Municipality

A lion mosaic was unearthed in the ancient city of Konuralp, north-western Turkey, the place where a bust of Alexander the Great was found in September.

The lion mosaic was discovered during excavations in a room located at the top of the ancient city’s theater in the district of Düzce, where excavations have been ongoing for four years.

The mosaic structure was unearthed in the middle of the theater axis, according to a statement made by the Konuralp Museum.

Lion Mosaic
The ancient theater of Konuralp and the mosaic. Credit: Facebook/Faruk Özlu/Düzce Municipality

Lion mosaic found at the Dionysus Cult Place

“It was determined that the interior walls of this room structure were covered with marble plates on a thick layer of mortar and that the room had a rectangular plan in the north-south direction,” the statement reads.

“A platform foundation is observed towards the north of the room, towards the interior. It was observed that the entire room was covered with a mosaic floor consisting of white, blue, yellow, green and brown tesserae made with fine workmanship.

“The edges of the mosaic, decorated with geometric patterns, are made in the form of a frame consisting of larger and colorful tesserae. Artifacts show us that this place was the Dionysus Cult Place,” the statement said.

Lion Mosaic
The mosaic is a “unique artifact.” Credit: Facebook/Faruk Özlu/Düzce Municipality

Düzce Mayor Faruk Özlü stated, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet that they encountered a new artifact every day during the excavations in Konuralp.

“We discovered a unique mosaic in Türkiye. This mosaic is an important element of the Ancient Theater here that has not come to light. We had previously found a statue of Medusa, a statue of Apollo and a statue of Alexander the Great here. This is the fourth important artifact we found, a work called the Lion Mosaic. Archaeologists state that it is a unique artifact.”

Previous excavations in the ancient city, known as the “Ephesus of the Western Black Sea,” also revealed an ancient stonemasonry theater, which dates back to the third century B.C., but there is more underground to unearth, including the rest of the theater, aqueducts and a Roman bridge, Hurriyet notes.

Alexander the Great bust was discovered near the lion mosaic

In September 2023 the head of a statue determined by archaeologists to belong to Alexander the Great was unearthed in Konuralp.

Bust of Alexander the Great
The 2nd century AD marble head of Alexander measures 23 centimeters. Credit: Düzce Municipality

In a statement, Konuralp Museum provided information about why they determined the bust to belong to Alexander the Great.

“The head, measuring 23 centimeters [from head to neck] was found during the excavations in the ancient theater. It is depicted with deep and upward-looking eyes made of marble, drill marks on the pupil and a slightly open mouth that does not show much of its teeth.

“His long curly hairstyle up to his neck and two strands of hair [Anastoli] in the middle of his forehead are like the mane of a lion. This depiction is a hair type typical of Alexander the Great,” the statement said.

Konuralp is 8 km north of Düzce; the first settlements there go back to the 3rd century BC. Until 74 BC, it was one of the most important cities belonging to Bithynia, which included Bilecik, Bolu, Sakarya, Kocaeli.

It was conquered by Pontus and then by the Roman Empire. During the Roman period, the city was influenced by Latin culture, and it changed its name to Prusias ad Hypium.

Later on, Christianity affected the city and after the separation of the Roman Empire in 395, it was controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire (the later Byzantine Empire).

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