A colorful 1,600-year-old mosaic was recently found during excavations carried out in preparations for the development of a new neighborhood in the coastal city of Yavne.
The excavations, directed by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and headed by Dr. Elie Haddad, Liat Nadav-Ziv, and Dr. Jon Seligman, unearthed the mosaic in the ruins of what is believed to be ancient and extensive industrial complex.
This is the first time such a well preserved piece has been uncovered in Yavne the archeologists said.
“The mosaic may have been part of a splendid residential building in a wealthy neighborhood adjacent to the industrial zone."
The multicolored mosaic pavement, dated to the Byzantine period, the 4th-5th century CE, consists of colorful geometric motifs and has a black rectangular frame.
“At first, we did not realize that the floor is multicolored,” said Dr. Elie Haddad and Dr. Hagit Torgë.
“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 cleaned the mosaic with a special acid and a colorful mosaic carpet was revealed, ornamented with geometric motifs.
After the mosaic was documented and photographed on-site, 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 authority’s conservation experts.
The mosaic will be placed in the plaza near Yavne’s cultural center.
The mosaic’s relocation and preservation will be carried out using ancient technological methods and employing materials similar to those used in antiquity.