domenica 21 luglio 2024

Apsidal room

Aula absidata | Foto: © Gianluca Baronchelli
Under the stone pavement and the long room from the later construction phase, the 2009–10 excavations partly uncovered a grand hall with an apse at its western end. Both hall and apse have fine mosaics. The one in the hall, surrounded by a band with a meander design, consisted of three parts: two at the sides (with a hexagonal design) and one in the centre (with intersecting circles). The individual modules depict birds (pheasants and ducks), sea creatures (octopuses, rays and shells), vegetation (vine shoots and branches with pears), and containers (pots and baskets), often full of fruit. The apse floor has a subtly coloured drapery design. Stylistically, the hall mosaic is comparable to the one in Bishop Theodore’s halls in the basilica (ad 313–320) and dates to the same period. The building’s function is less clear. It might have been an opulent house; equally, it might have been connected somehow with the early-Christian religious complex nearby.