Is­rael ac­ci­den­tally finds ‘im­pres­sive’ an­cient mo­saic

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Is­rael will present to the pub­lic for the first time this week an “im­pres­sive” mo­saic ac­ci­den­tally dis­cov­ered in what was a wealthy neigh­bor­hood in Ro­man and Byzan­tine times, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day. The color­ful mo­saic mea­sur­ing some 11 by 13 me­ters (36 by 43 feet) dis­cov­ered in Lod in cen­tral Is­rael is be­lieved to have been the court­yard pave­ment of a “mag­nif­i­cent villa,” the Is­rael An­tiq­ui­ties Author­ity said. It is the sec­ond such mo­saic found in the area, fol­low­ing an­other un­cov­ered in the 1990s that was the floor of the villa’s liv­ing room 1,700 years ago and has since been ex­hib­ited in pres­ti­gious mu­se­ums world­wide. The author­ity called the first mo­saic “breath­tak­ing” and “among the most beau­ti­ful” in Is­rael. It de­picts roar­ing li­ons, ele­phants in bat­tle, gi­raffes and dol­phins.

The re­cent ex­ca­va­tion in 2014 was to pre­pare for the con­struc­tion of a vis­i­tor cen­ter to house the first mo­saic, cur­rently on dis­play at the Palazzo Cini Gallery in Venice, when it re­turns. Scenes in the newly dis­cov­ered mo­saic in­clude hunt­ing and hunted an­i­mals, fish, flow­ers in bas­kets, vases and birds. “The qual­ity of the im­ages por­trayed in the mo­saic in­di­cates a highly de­vel­oped artis­tic abil­ity,” Amir Gorzal­czany, ex­ca­va­tion di­rec­tor, said in a state­ment.

The author­ity said that nu­mer­ous frag­ments of fres­coes dis­cov­ered also “re­flect the dec­o­ra­tion and the metic­u­lous and lux­u­ri­ous de­sign, which are in the best tra­di­tion of the well-born of the pe­riod”. It said that “in light of the new dis­cov­er­ies, this part of the villa will also be in­cor­po­rated in the vis­i­tor cen­ter”. Lod was known as Diospo­lis at the time, and served as a dis­trict cap­i­tal. To­day it is lo­cated near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gu­rion in­ter­na­tional air­port. —

A worker of the Is­rael An­tiq­ui­ties Author­ity cleans a 1,700-year-old mo­saic, which served as pave­ment for the court­yard in a villa dur­ing the Ro­man and Byzan­tine pe­ri­ods, as it is pre­sented to the pub­lic and the press for the first time yes­ter­day, in the Is­raeli cen­tral city of Lod. — AFP pho­tos

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