Mars Bronze, with gold and silver eyes. 2nd century CE. Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gaziantep, Anatolia.
Height: 1.45-meter/4.75 feet
In 1995, a team of French archaeologists was given six weeks to excavate at the site of the Roman city of Zeugma. Situated on the shore of the Euphrates River, the site was going to be flooded at completion of the Birecek Dam. Little of significance was found until a few days before their permit was to expire. With the discovery of an extraordinary series of Roman mosaics, an international team was assembled to remove Zeugma’s artifacts before they were submerged.
This statue was discovered in 2000, in a storage room in one of the villas. Mars is holding a spear in one hand and twinning flowers in the other, making this statue unique in recognizing both the military and agricultural spheres of his influence.
Excavations and conservation efforts continue in Zeugma, which has been recognized a a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, about 25% of the ancient town is under water.