Ohio university to return ancient Turkish mosaics

A set of ancient mosaics that were part of an Ohio university's art collection will be returned to Turkey, more than half a century after looters removed them from the ruins of Roman homes and smuggled them out of the country.

Turkish representatives joined Bowling Green State University administrators at a news conference Tuesday to discuss the decision, the Toledo Blade reported .

Southern Methodist University art history professor Stephanie Langin-Hooper, one of the researchers who probed the history of the mosaics, praised the return of the artifacts.

"Today we have a modern triumph — a reverse triumph if you will — where looted masterpieces get to go home," she said. "It is a triumph for scholarship, for research, and for collaboration."

Turkish Consul General Umut Acar thanked university officials for their cooperation in the matter.

"It's that understanding and respect that brings together representatives from a city in southeast Turkey with Bowling Green residents," Acar said.

Officials originally thought the pieces were from the Turkish city of Antioch but researchers later determined they probably came from the city of Zeugma.

Bowling Green bought the 12 mosaics from a New York gallery in 1965 and displayed them in the Wolfe Center for the Arts.

Bowling Green and Turkish officials agreed that the artifacts would be returned in May. The mosaics will be exhibited at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep.

"The mosaic's new home will allow these historic artifacts to be appreciated and studied where they originated and to be enjoyed by a much wider audience," Bowling Green President Rodney Rogers said.

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Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/