Medusa head

Throughout the summer, art history professor Michael Hoff led a team of Turkish students on an excavation that lead to the discovery of the remnants of an ancient statue – a head of Medusa, a monster seen in Greek mythology.

The trip took place in an ancient Roman city in Turkey, Antiochia ad Cragum, according to a UNL news release. This Medusa head discovery marks one of the most prominent discoveries from the annual university-sponsored trips in 10 years.

“It is another piece of evidence that supports our growing understanding that the city was a fairly wealthy place,” Hoff said in the news release.

Full excavation of the area the head was found in is still yet to come, but some discoveries of the area include a 1,600 square-foot mosaic, the remnants of an ancient Roman bath house, the city’s seat of government and another building that was close by. The team identified the marble remains of the area as a once city council house in ancient Roman aspects.

The new material found in the rubble leads to knowledge of the social norms and ways of life for the ancient people of Antiochia. Not only do the discoveries show more about the inhabitant’s lives, they also lead to the belief of why the city was abandoned.

Some of the possibilities were that the city was destroyed by an earthquake, or there was an invasion by the Turks, but no matter why the powerful city was left abandoned, its secrets are now becoming more and more known because of Hoff and his colleagues.

Research and work on the site is ongoing, and the team will continue its excavations.

“We await to find further secrets the ancient buried city might reveal,” Hoff said.