Mar 16, 2018

Two ancient mosaics were unearthed from under the lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.

Soon after the MFA opened its waterfront location in St. Petersburg in 1965, it acquired five mosaics from an excavation of the ancient city of Antioch, a site located between modern-day Turkey and Syria. Three of the mosaics are placed throughout the museum––one is in a water fountain, another is stored under a stage, and one is on view in a membership garden, where current executive director Kristen Shepherd used to do homework as a high schooler. Shepherd became director in 2017 and initiated a search project for the two missing artworks, which she entitled “Antioch Reclaimed,” and found the mosaics buried under the museum’s lawn last year. The mosaics, extricated earlier this month, are undergoing a major conservation process inside of an outdoor lab, where museum visitors can watch the project unfold. While the museum is unsure of why the 2,000-year-old works were buried underground, the Tampa Bay Times reports that they are planning for a permanent installation of them, following a travelling exhibition set for 2020.