BGSU to return ancient Turkish mosaics

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — A set of ancient mosaics that were part of an Ohio university’s art collection will be returned to Turkey.

Bowling Green State University administrators were joined by Turkish representatives Tuesday during a news conference concerning the decision, the Blade reported. Bowling Green bought the 12 mosaics from a New York gallery in 1965. They were on display in the Wolfe Center for the Arts.

The university decided to return the pieces after faculty members questioned their origin. Officials originally thought the pieces were from Antioch but researchers later determined they probably came from the city of Zeugma. In the 1960s, looters stole the mosaics from the ruins of Roman homes and smuggled them out of Turkey.

Southern Methodist University art history professor Stephanie Langin-Hooper was one of the researchers who probed the history of the mosaics. She 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.

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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