Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have uncovered a 1,600-year-old mosaic at the archaeological site of Tel Yavne in the Central District of Israel.
The 1,600-year-old mosaic uncovered at Tel Yavne, Israel. Image credit: Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority.
The multicolored mosaic pavement was unearthed during archaeological excavations directed by IAA archaeologist Dr. Avishag Reiss.
Dated to the Byzantine period (4th-5th century CE), it is decorated with colorful geometric motifs, and has a black rectangular frame.
“The pavement may have been part of a splendid residential building in a wealthy neighborhood adjacent to the industrial zone,” IAA archaeologists said.
“At first, we did not realize that the floor is multicolored,” they added.
“We assumed that it was simple white mosaic paving belonging to yet another industrial installation.”
“But black patches dotted around the mosaic suggested that it was more than one color and prompted us to remove the whitish patina that had coated it for years.”
“The conservation director went to work cleaning the mosaic with a special acid and, to our astonishment, a colorful mosaic carpet was revealed, ornamented with geometric motifs.”
Once the mosaic had been documented, drawn, and photographed in the field, it was removed and temporarily transferred to the IAA’s mosaic workshop at the Rockefeller Museum, where it has been treated and preserved by the conservation experts.
“I am happy that the mosaic will be displayed in a central location in the city so that the values embodied in its heritage are preserved and made accessible to the general public,” said Dr. Diego Barkan, an archaeologist in IAA’s Tel Aviv District.