A stunning 1,700-year-old ornate mosaic, unearthed last year in Israel, will be showcased to the public for the very first time, this week. Discovered in the city of Lod, around 15 km (or 9 miles) southeast of Tel Aviv, this mosaic fragment was originally part of the courtyard pavement in a plush villa, during the late Roman and Byzantine periods.
Measuring around 36 by 42 feet (approx. 11 by 13 meter) in area, the mosaic was uncovered, by archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), during the construction of a special visitors’ center for the famous Lod Mosaic. According to the team, excavation works at the city’s Neveh Yerek neighborhood revealed this impressive piece of ornate mosaic. Speaking about the find, Yohi Shwartz, the spokesperson at IAA, said:
Important artifacts were discovered in the new excavation, the most notable of which is another colorful mosaic (11×13 meters) that was the courtyard pavement of the magnificent villa that had the famous mosaic in its living room.
Excavation works in the area date back to the early 1990s when archaeologist Miriam Avissar and her team unearthed the now world-renowned Lod Mossaic. Believed to be one of the most beautiful artifacts in the entire country, it is currently on display at Venice-based Cini Gallery. In the last few years, the mosaic has been exhibited in some of the world’s most famous museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia as well as Paris’s Louvre Museum. Once completely constructed, Lod’s visitor center will be the mosaic’s permanent home.
As part of the current excavations, the archaeologists explored the southern end of the complex, which houses the famed Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center. During their survey, the team came across a large mosaic-covered courtyard, lined with magnificent porticos supported by thick columns. According to the director of excavation, Amir Gorzalczany, the courtyard and the surrounding porticos were once part of a spectacular villa. He said:
The villa was part of a neighborhood of affluent houses that stood here during the Roman and Byzantine periods. At that time, Lod was called Diospolis and was the district capital, until it was replaced by Ramla after the Muslim conquest. The building was used for a very long time.
The newly-uncovered mosaic depicts stunning scenes of fish, hunted and hunting animals, flowers in vases, birds and so on. Gorzalczany added:
The quality of the images portrayed in the mosaic indicates a highly developed artistic ability… Numerous fragments of frescoes reflect the decoration and the meticulous and luxurious design, which are in the best tradition of the well-born of the period. In light of the new discoveries, this part of the villa also will be incorporated in the visitor center.
Via: The Jerusalem Post