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A Huge, 1,600 Year Old Mosaic of the Trojan War is Uncovered, and Considered the 'Rarest Ever' Archaeological Find

Bettmann. Getty Images.

What a piece of work is man. 

Our species is capable of practically anything. One extreme to the other. Alpha to Omega, and everything in between. We'll conduct senseless wars on a global scale. Commit genocide. Rob, steal, cheat and enslave one another like the territorial apes we are. Then turn around and make miraculous scientific inventions, from an orbiting telescope that can transmit images from the edges of the known universe. And even knock an asteroid out of its orbit like a billiard shot. 

Perhaps most remarkable of all, we can create extraordinary works of art. Humans are such fascinating creatures that we never stop discovering new facets of what we are capable of on that front. Which is why in many ways, the sciences that explore ourselves and our history (anthropology, archaeology) are more fascinating that sciences that explore the things around us (geology, oceanography, astronomy). And there may be no better example of what I'm discussing here than this latest discovery:

Source - A 1,300-square-foot mosaic uncovered in Syria depicting scenes of the Trojan War, a legendary conflict that took place between the ancient Greeks and the people of Troy more than 2,000 years ago, is the 'rarest' ever to be found due to how remarkably intact it is.

The stunning Roman-era artwork, constructed 1,600 years ago, is adorned with soldiers carrying swords and shields, along with their names, and images of fierce Amazons who fought alongside the people of Troy.

The mosaic is the latest to be found in Rastan in northern Syria's Homs district, which the government seized back from rebels in 2018 after years of bloodshed - a year after armed groups attempted to sell pieces of the mosaic in 2017 and listed it on social media platforms.

Archaeologists, who made the announcement Wednesday, have so far uncovered 65 feet of the detailed mosaic in what may have been the floor of an ancient bathhouse, but more investigating needs to be carried out. 

Dr Humam Saad, the associate director of excavation and archaeological research at the directorate, said among the scenes the mosaic shows is a rare portrayal of ancient Amazon warriors who fought alongside the people of Troy.

'What is in front of us is a discovery that is rare on a global scale,' Dr Saad [said].

Think about that. Here, lying under the very ground people have been going to war on, lay a depiction of ancient war from about the 5th century A.D. A masterpiece that must have taken skilled craftsmen lifetimes to create. One that, if my math is right, is just about the size of half a tennis court. Perfectly preserved, despite the blood being shed above. 

In addition to being famous for the giant wooden horse of the same name, the Trojan War is famous for the battle between Achilles and Hector:

… it was started by Hector's brother Paris cucking Spartan Menelaus by swiping his wife Helen, Queen of Sparta, a/k/a "The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships" and taking her back to Troy. So Menelaus, proving what a cuck he was, asked his brother Agamemnon sail to Troy to fight his battle for him. Achilles comes along for the fun of it and slaughters a ton of Trojan soldiers. Then he and King Priam of Troy call for a cease fire. Some Spartans build a giant wooden horse and leave it at the gate as an offering. It's brought inside. Some soldiers crawl out its belly in the middle of the night and burn the place to the ground. Achilles takes an arrow in the one part of his body where he's vulnerable (see if you can guess which) and dies. Annnddd … scene. 

So about 13 centuries after Homer immortalized the war in The Iliad, some long forgotten artisans decided to dedicate their lives to commemorating it in their own way. Now, 16 centuries after that, this time capsule gets unearthed by some modern day Indiana Joneses. "Obtainers of rare antiquities." In what appears to be remarkably preserved condition. 

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There is practically nothing we cannot do, for better or for worse. Hopefully this mosaic will remain in the safest of hands and so we can not screw this up. Like we're also capable of.