An incredible 1,700-year-old ancient mosaic has been uncovered by archaeologists in Israel.
Earlier this month, experts discovered the stunning Roman-era artifact in the city of Lod in central Israel. Ironically, the excavation was made prior to construction of a museum to showcase other ancient mosaics found at the site.
In 1996, road workers found a Roman mosaic floor, which subsequent excavation revealed was part of a luxurious 4th century A.D. Roman villa. “We found evidence for Mediterranean luxury that characterized the Roman Empire, including attributes such as fresco wall paintings,” said Dr. Amir Gorzalczany, who is directing the current excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Rectangular marks on the mosaic may denote where couches were placed.
The recently discovered mosaic will be displayed at the new museum, The Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeology Center, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Similar to the mosaic first discovered in 1996, animals feature in the newly-excavated piece. “The figures, many similar to the figures in the earlier mosaics, comprise fish and winged creatures,” explained Gorzalczany. “A fairly similar mosaic was found in the past in Jerusalem, on the Mount Zion slopes. The Lod mosaics, however, do not depict any human figures that are present in the Mount Zion mosaic.”
“It is quite probable that the same artist produced both the mosaics, or that two artists worked from a similar design,” he added.
Other mosaics have also been uncovered in Israel. In a separate project, researchers discovered a stunning mosaic depicting a biblical scene at the site of an ancient synagogue in Northern Israel.
Archaeologists are continually shedding new light on the country’s rich history. Experts, for example, recently unearthed an extremely rare ancient clay amulet with a blessing in Arabic.
Earlier this year experts also announced the discovery of a site that may offer fresh insight into the ancient biblical kingdom of David and Solomon. In another project, a trove of bronze coins, the last remnants of an ancient Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, were recently discovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a clay seal mark that may bear the signature of the biblical Prophet Isaiah.
Last November, new evidence dated Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Roman era, matching historical records.
Other finds include the skeleton of a pregnant woman, dating back 3,200 years, in Israel’s Timna Valley, at a place once called King Solomon’s Mines.
At the site of an ancient city on the West Bank, archaeologists are also hunting for evidence of the tabernacle that once housed the Ark of the Covenant.
Some experts also believe they have found the lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, which was the home of Jesus' apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers