A monastery built during the Roman era and a 1,500-year-old mosaic were unearthed in western Turkey as security forces nabbed two suspects conducting an illegal excavation.
Turkish Gendarmerie teams, acting on a tip, launched an operation in the mountainous area where there is no method of transportation by vehicle in the Aliaga District of Izmir province.
The suspects were nabbed trying to remove the historical remains about 2 meters (6.5 feet) below the ground.
Later, experts from the Izmir Archeology Museum investigated the region and the area was taken under protection.
The mosaic will be taken to a museum after initial studies are performed.
Hunkar Keser, the director of the Izmir Archeology Museum told Anadolu Agency that the team came to the region following the Turkish Gendarmerie’s notification.
“We detected the floor mosaic. This place was used as a monastery and has a basilica,” said Keser.
Explaining that the team estimates the monastery was used between the fourth and fourteenth centuries, Keser said the mosaic was very valuable archaeologically.
“It is located at a point where it can be reached by tractor from the pathways. This is a universal cultural asset and a rare artifact,” he said.