Sunday 8 November 2009
Syria — The excavations of the Syrian-Polish Joint Expedition during 2009 in the site of Horta, 15 km north of the ancient city of Apamea in Hama, uncovered a number of clay lamps and glass kohl jars dating back to the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Horta site has two levels, one Roman and one Byzantine, and that excavations for this season focused on uncovering a temple dedicated to the god Mithras (Mithraeum), the principal figure of the Greco-Roman religion of Mithraism.
A big part of the temple was uncovered, particularly the altar and the main hall. The walls of the main hall bear frescos depicting Mithras and other gods associated with him.
The roof western side of the temple is almost completely collapsed, and the clay lamps and glass kohl jars were found during the process of clearing the rubble from that area, in addition to uncovering remains pottery that possibly date back to the Byzantine period since they bear the sign of the cross.
Excavations also uncovered the remaining parts of a clay container that was discovered in 2003.
The expedition will work in upcoming seasons to uncover the exterior parts of the temple, which has an area of approximately 200 m².
Earlier excavations in the Horta site uncovered the Alexandros church, one of the oldest churches in the region, dating back to 421 AD.
Meanwhile, the Syrian-Japanese Archaeological Expedition uncovered a burial chamber dating back to the Bronze Age circa 2000 BC at Tel Ghanem al-Ali site, which is located on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River east of al-Raqqah city.
The burial chamber contained several clay jars and plates, beads, and bronze drill.