According to a story in archeology news portal arkeofili.com on Monday, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has halted its restoration and begun an investigation after the local Antakya daily revealed on April 16 that the mosaics displayed in the newly built Hatay Archaeological Museum had been incorrectly restored, appearing quite different from their original versions.
The scandal regarding the restoration was first revealed by a local mosaic craftsman, Mehmet Daşkapan, who brought the issue to the attention of the daily. According to Daşkapan, more than 10 priceless pieces from the Roman period were ruined, becoming caricatures of their former versions. Other mosaics are in poor condition and have lost their originality and value, Daşkapan claimed.
The craftsman also stated that among the damaged mosaics are world-famous panels, including a mosaic depicting the sacrifice of Isaac and one depicting the mythical character Narcissus. “Some of its stones are missing, while others have been misplaced, creating an absurd look which can not be the original mosaic from the second century,” Daşkapan told the daily.
In a recent written statement from the Culture and Tourism Ministry's heritage and museums department, Deputy Director Mustafa Bozdemir said an investigation commission, consisting of mosaics experts, has been formed to look into the allegations of incorrect restoration and promised that the public will be informed of its findings.
The original Hatay Archaeological Museum was opened in 1948 and re-opened in 1975, following renovation and expansion. The construction of the new museum started in 2011, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu participated in its opening ceremony on December 28, 2014.