New discovery regarding origins of ancient mosaics

One of BGSU's mosaics

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Research conducted by Dr. Stephanie Langin-Hooper, of Bowling Green State University (BGSU), and Dr. Rebecca Molholt, of Brown University, may shed new light on the origin of 12 pieces of ancient mosaics in BGSU’s art collection.

Acquired by BGSU in 1965, the mosaics had long been thought to have originated in the ancient city of Antioch, in modern-day Turkey. The research by Langin-Hooper, an assistant professor of art history, and Molholt, an assistant professor of history of art and architecture, suggests that the mosaics did not come from Antioch, but instead may be from the ancient city of Zeugma, also in modern-day Turkey.

This new research raises questions about both the origin of the mosaics and the circumstance of their excavation prior to the University’s acquisition, as some mosaics from Zeugma were removed through unauthorized excavation and put into the international art market. Further research and consultation with experts from around the world, including Turkey, will help answer these questions. BGSU will be contacting international art authorities and has already contacted art experts with the FBI to better help it understand the issues related to the new discovery.

BGSU acquired the mosaics for about $35,000 under the direction of then-university President William Jerome and faculty in the BGSU School of Art.  Since acquiring the mosaics, the University has had them restored and constructed a permanent display for them in The Wolfe Center for the Arts.

While this renewed research effort is ongoing, preserving and safeguarding the mosaics will continue to be a primary concern for the University.

“We take the care and preservation of the mosaics seriously, and have them displayed in our arts center,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, president of BGSU. “They have been housed at the University for nearly half of our history—of course we will do the right thing. As an institution of higher learning, we have relied on the expertise of scholars both at the time of acquisition and now, as we study the origins of the mosaics going forward.”


Editor's Note: To download photos of the mosaics, visit!i=1697011728&k=XHMxgcS.

(Posted February 07, 2012 )

Updated: 01/16/2018 04:22PM