HU Expert Contracted To Analyze Newly Found Ancient Byzantine Mosaic

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February 8, 2018

HU expert analyzes ancient byzantine mosaic inscribed with mysterious greek writing that was unearthed in Israel port city

Archaeologists working in an ancient port city in Israel unearthed a rare, intricate Byzantine mosaic that dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. It's inscribed with a lengthy message written in ancient Greek.
 


Leah Di Segni, an expert from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology contracted to analyze the inscription, has already sent a preliminary reading to the excavators; however, it will not be made public before further research is completed.

The port that the mosaic was found in is known as Caesarea, not far from Tel Aviv. Experts from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Caesarea Development Corporation collaborated to excavate the site as part of ongoing restoration work. The park is a major tourist attraction, and this project is the largest conservation and reconstruction project in Israel's history.

The archaeologists uncovered a portion of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine-era building that was likely one component of a larger agora,the ancient Greek name for a public, open-air market and gathering place. And underneath that building, they uncovered an 1,800-year-old Byzantine mosaic.
 

A rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries is displayed by the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018.
A rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries is displayed by the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018.

 

The mosaic measures roughly 11.5 feet wide and 26 feet long and depicts three toga-clad men, who appear to represent members of the upper class. The remaining space was filled with bright, multicolored geometric patterns painstakingly composed of tiny pieces of stone known as tesserae—about 3,000 of them laid down per square foot, according to Times of Israel.

“If the mosaic was part of a mansion, the figures may have been the owners,” said the excavation directors. “If this was a public building, they might have represented the donors of the mosaic, or members of the city council.”
 

Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority clean the mosaic.
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority clean the mosaic.

 

The inscription suffered damage when the 1,500-year-old building was constructed on top of the mosaic. It'll take some more time to decipher and translate the message in full, since many letters are degraded and some are missing entirely.

“The Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Administration is now working to make sure the exposed parts of the mosaic are preserved and will not disintegrate over time," Jacques Nagar, head of the IAA’s Art Conservation Department.

 

Read Source Article:
Ancient Byzantine Mosaic Inscribed With Mysterious Greek Writing Unearthed In Israel Port City

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