Spanish archeologists were working studiously in La Huerta de Otero archeological zone in Merida for quite some time when they uncovered one of the most stunning mosaic revelations in recent history — a gloriously well-preserved artwork of ancient Greek mythological creature Medusa.
The area on which the wonderful mosaic artwork was found is a part of the Roman city of Augusta Emerita. This ancient city was founded back in 25 BC by Augustus. Its main purpose was to help resettle Emeriti soldiers from the legions of the Cantabrian Wars. Although its purpose may seem solely practical from today’s point of view, the city ended up becoming one of the largest Roman cities in Hispania. It covered an area of 20,000 square kilometers and it was the capital of the province of Lusitania.
Recent excavations in the area brought to light a gorgeous Roman domus, as well as a canvas of the city wall. However, the excavation of a large mosaic on the floor of the main room inside the domus outshined all other recent founds. Detailed and almost impeccably preserved, this intricate mosaic artwork depicts one of the three Gorgons in all of its feminine and monstrous glory.
According to the archeologists, this particular depiction of Medusa was created to protect the inhabitants of the Domus. These protective mosaic artworks of Medusa were quite common at the time and many artifacts and mosaics that were uncovered in recent history had the same protective purpose in both Greek and Roman worlds.
The image of Medusa is in the center of an octagonal mosaic medallion, surrounded by four peacocks that mark the four seasons. The amazing mosaic artwork also contains complex geometrical patterns and realistic images of animal and floral motifs, such as birds, fish, and various plants.
This amazing archeological site has been abandoned for decades. The ongoing project started back in 2019 and huge progress has already been made in terms of both excavation and documentation of the exhumed remains. We are eager to see what more will be found in the Roman City of Augusta Emerita.