Ancient Mosaic Seized From Palmdale Home Was Looted From Syria: Authorities

An undated image of an ancient mosaic found in a Palmdale man's home. (Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office)

The ancient mosaic depicts Hercules and other figures from Roman mythology and is believed to date from the 3rd or 4th century. It is 18 feet wide and 8 feet tall, and weighs one ton.

The Byzantine artwork was seized by FBI agents in 2016 at the Palmdale home of Mohamad Yassin Alcharihi, who is accused in a complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles this week of smuggling the antiquity into the U.S. and concealing it at his residence.

Authorities say the relic was looted from war-torn Syria.

The mosaic is “an authentic mosaic from the Byzantine Period depicting Roman mythology, and was consistent with the iconography of mosaics found in Syria, in particular in and around the city of Idlib, Syria,” according to an expert retained by the government to examine the piece.

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