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Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Ancient mosaic to be displayed in Kiryat Gat
The 1,500-year-old artwork served as floor in Byzantine church, shows scenery from ancient Egypt in 17 different colors of stone.
A 1,500-year-old mosaic that was discovered in archaeological digs in Kiryat Gat will be displayed to the public on October 1 in the place of its discovery after going through a lengthy preservation process.

 

 

The mosaic depicts scenes from ancient Egypt including clearly identifiable buildings and streets. It was found in 2013 by archaeologists with the Israeli Antiquities Authority accompanied by schoolchildren and workers from Kiryat Gat's Industrial Park.

 

Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

 

Scientific assessments suggest that the mosaic served as a decorative floor for a church in the age of the Byzantine Empire.

 

Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
 

"The display of buildings on a mosaic floor is a rare find in Israel," said archaeologists Saar Ganur and Dr. Rina Avner from the Antiquities Authority. "The buildings are organized along a city's main columned road, like an ancient map."

 

According to the archaeologists, a well-preserved Greek inscription is included on the mosaic, identifying the scene as an ancient Egyptian city.

 

Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquity Authority
Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquity Authority
 

"The site of this Egyptian city on a floor of a public building in Kiryat Gat hints, perhaps, at the origin of the visitors to the church," said Ganur and Avner.

 

The mosaic made up just a part of the church's floor and only two parts of the mosaic survived - the rest was apparently destroyed along with the church that housed it.

 

Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
 

One part of the mosaic shows animals like chickens, antelope, birds and a special cup filled with red fruit.

 

"The artist used 17 different colors of stones," said Ganur. "The effort and quality of raw materials is among the best that's ever been discovered in Israel."

 

The second part shows a view of the Egyptian Nile River with a sail boat, streets and buildings. The buildings are shown in three dimensions and they have two or three floors with balconies, galleries, roofs, shingles and windows.

 

The mosaic will be on display on October 1 within the framework of the festival called Inside the Factory that will mark the beginning of Kiryat Gat's 60th birthday.

 

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