Extraordinary Byzantine Mosaic Unearthed in Israel
A spectacular and huge mosaic dating back to the Byzantine Period (4 th to 6 th Century AD) has been uncovered in Kibbutz Bet Qama, at an excavation site located on an ancient road that ran north from Be’er Sheva in Israel, spurring curiosity amongst archaeologists who do not yet know the purpose of the building in which it was found.
The colourful mosaic would have covered an area 40 feet long by 28 feet wide, which is much larger than other mosaics of the period. It is divided into three squares with circles within each and is decorated with interwoven designs, as well as special feature designs such as two peacocks, a dove and a partridge, and an amphora with a pomegranate and a lemon-like fruit inside.
"The find of this mosaic is extraordinary; the size of it and the goes beyond what is usually found," archaeologist Davida Degen said. "This is an unusual find."
The mosaic would have been used as the floor of a public building. However, it is unknown what the main function of the building was. Other areas of the site showed evidence of the practice of Christianity but the public building did not appear to be used for religious purposes. There were also pools and a network of channels and pipes found in front of the building, the walls of which were covered in coloured frescos. Archaeologists have said that the construction of the original site would have required considerable economic resources.