Spectacular Colorful Mosaic From Byzantine Period Discovered in Israel

13 May, 2013

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Follow us: - As far back as 4000 years ago we find evidence of mosaic patterns being used and the mosaic patterns and themes melded together.

Recently, a spectacular colorful mosaic floor was discovered during recent archaeological dig near Kibbutz Beit Kama, in the Negev, southern Israel, according to IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority).

1,500-year-old mosaic is decorated with geometric patterns and its corners are enhanced with amphorae (jars used to transport wine), a pair of peacocks, and a pair of doves pecking at grapes on a tendril.

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Colorful mosaic may have been the floor of an inn that served travellers on the main road. Photo Courtesy: Yael Yolovitch / Israeli Antiquities Authority / EPA

These are common designs that are known from this period; however, what makes this mosaic unique is the large number of motifs that were incorporated in one carpet.

The floor is believed to be part of a public building measuring 12 meters by 8.5 meters (about 40 feet by 26 feet) and its ceiling was apparently covered with roof tiles, but its precise role is still unknown.

Archaeologists are trying to determine the purpose of the impressive and the very well-preserved public building and the pools whose construction required considerable economic resources.

Pools and a system of channels and pipes between them used to convey water were discovered in front of the building.

Steps were exposed in one of the pools and its walls were treated with colored plaster (fresco).

The site, which was located along an ancient road that ran north - from an archeological site believed to be the remains of the biblical town of Be'er Sheva - probably consisted of a large estate that included a church, residential buildings and storerooms, a large cistern, a public building and pools surrounded by farmland.

Click on image to enlarge

The intricate mosaic, which features black, red and white tiles, was created between the 4th and 6th centuries. It's the most outstanding find in a Byzantine-era village unearthed in the Negev during a survey conducted prior to construction of a highway. Photo Courtesy: Yael Yolovitch / Israeli Antiquities Authority / EPA

Click on image to enlarge

It's the most outstanding find in a Byzantine-era village unearthed in the Negev during a survey conducted prior to construction of a highway. Photo Courtesy: Yael Yolovitch / Israeli Antiquities Authority / EPA

Presumably one of the structures served as an inn for travelers who visited the place.

The town of Be'er Sheva is mentioned numerous times in the Hebrew Bible often as a means of describing the extent of the Land of Israel, as being from "Be'er Sheva to Dan" (Judges 20:1-3 and I Samuel 3:19-21). The name is derived from the Hebrew Be'er meaning a well, and Sheva, meaning either the number seven, or "to swear an oath".

See also:
The Largest Ever Roman Mosaic Unearthed In Southern Turkey

Two Stone Age 9,500-Year-Old Artifacts Unearthed

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