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Ancient monastery with large mosaics found in southern Israel

Mideast Israel Ancient Monastery-1.jpg

An Israeli Antiquities Authority archeologist Daniel Varge works on a Byzantine period monastery mosaic near a village of Hura, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Israel's Antiquities Authority has unveiled a monastery dating back about 1,400 years in the south of the country with an impressive mosaic floors that shed light on life in the region during the Byzantine period. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)The Associated Press

Israel's Antiquities Authority has unveiled a monastery dating back some 1,400 years in the south of the country with impressive mosaic floors that shed light on life in the region during the Byzantine period.

Excavation director Daniel Varga called the find "spectacular" on Tuesday.

He said the monastery, discovered this week, is from the sixth century and that the detailed mosaics are unusual in the area.

Colorful designs of flora, and animals along with inscriptions in Greek and Syriac are depicted in the designs. Names of the monastery's abbots are inscribed in the mosaics.

Pottery and glass artifacts and coins from the Byzantine period were also found at the site.

The church is believed to have been a center for Christian worship at the time.