This day, Sophia removed the last few bricks from the mid-section of a wall of a newly excavated structure. Then, she slowly lowered herself through the hole to land inside a large room. After gathering herself, she looked around and noticed an intact fresco, covering one wall. The painting depicted two armed warriors at the end of a fight; one victorious the other bloodied and defeated, asking for mercy. Intact maroon and yellow paints adorned the figures. Sophia’s research team had already excavated several artifacts pointing towards the existence of a gladiator fighting arena nearby. This painting would suggest that this particular room might have been used as a rest area, following a fight between two competitors. She took copious notes and filmed the entire area.
Six months later, Sophia presented her findings in an international conference in Istanbul, Turkey. At the end of the gathering, she would decide to explore Turkey, a country being at the juncture of Europe and Asia. Her journey would take her to Cappadocia, an ancient city whose landscape was shaped by the soft rocks from volcanic eruptions from nearby Mount Erciyes, million years ago.
One early morning, she took a hot-air balloon ride over the valley. The balloon floated forward over several tall cave-like structures appeared to be inhabited in past. After returning to the ground, she located a local guide who accompanied her to nearby Göreme National Park where several cave-churches were established by the early followers of Christianity, fleeing persecution. She entered one of the largest ones and immediately noticed a well-preserved fresco of Christ’s face on the ceiling, reminding her of the arts from Byzantine-era. She noticed that the major paints utilized by the artist were maroon and yellow, similar ones utilized in the painting she uncovered in Pompeii’s rubble. In addition, the painting techniques also bore an uncanny resemblance.
Sophia came out of the ancient church and looked at the distant horizon, murmuring “Throughout ages, our humanity had seen the rise and fall of several civilizations. But the results of human curiosity survived, whether in science, arts or literature.”