TURKISH HISTORY ON MOSIACS. Earliest Mosaic in the World Found in Turkey Intricate stone floor by a possible temple and cuneiform texts indicate that Usakli Hoyuk may have been the lost Hittite city of Zippalanda, suggests archaeologist Anacleto D’Agostino The stone mosaic floor is in the foregroundCredit: Usa̧klı Höyük Archaeological Project Ruth Schuster Get an email notification for articles from Ruth SchusterFollow Jan. 23, 2020 A crude tiled floor laid down in geometric patterns, unearthed in a preclassical Hittite town in central Turkey, is the earliest-known mosaic in the world, reports Anacleto D’Agostino of the University of Pisa. Moreover, he adds, the settlement where the mosaic was found maybe the lost Hittite city of Zippalanda. Discovered during the excavation of prehistoric Usakli Hoyuk, the multichromatic patterned surface is in the courtyard of a public building – which archaeologists interpret to be a temple to the Storm God, D’Agostino writes in Antiquity, published by the Cambridge University Press. Made of stones of varying size and shape, the Late Bronze Age floor is also the earliest-known rendition in the rock of geometric patterns. The later mosaics that most people are more familiar with are “pebble mosaics” made of unworked small, round stones, or tile mosaics made of small, flattened cubic or rectangular tiles.
In contrast, the Usakli mosaic consists of 3,147 pieces of irregularly shaped stones, plus the odd pebble. The part exposed so far measures about 3 by 7 meters (10 by 23 feet) in area, D’Agostino writes. All the stones were laid flat, not quite touching one another, and formed geometric patterns in contrasting dark and light colors. The mosaic consists of three rectangular frames, each containing three rows of triangles of different colors, mainly white, light red and blue-black. Two stones are orange-yellow, D’Agostino notes. The mosaic was framed with perpendicularly positioned stones in white, black-blue and white again. The mosaic and eastern wall of the building interpreted as a Storm God temple do not touch one another but have the same orientation, D’Agostino states: the mosaic’s frame runs precisely parallel to the wall. These two Bronze Age edifices are clearly contemporaneous, he concludes. Also, the building and mosaic are characterized by “high status architecture,” while later remains in the town (from the end of the Bronze and Iron ages) are not, lending to the theory that this town was Zippalanda – and therefore the temple would have been to the Storm God.