Israeli archaeologists unveiled a Byzantine mosaic that had been buried under sand dunes for 50 years, along with a newly discovered, highly rare table dating from the same era.

The so-called mosaic “carpet” measuring 16 metres (53 feet) by 14.5 metres (48 feet), was uncovered in the Israeli coastal resort of Ceasarea and has been dated by archaeologists to the fifth and sixth centuries.

Bordered by a freize of running animals, including lions, panthers, wild boards, antelope, elephant, dog and bull, interspersed with fruit trees, remains of the floor were first found during military exercises in 1950.

A full-scale excavation programme got underway in 1955 and preservation work began in 2004.

The unique decorative glass design table, inlaid with gold encrusted glass platelets in various shapes, was found lying face down in rubble nearby.

Rounded on one side, the table is a common shape in the Roman and Byzantine periods, although archaeologists said that they knew no other similarly decorated item uncovered in organised excavation of a late Byzantine structure.

The finds were uncovered at a mansion that probably belonged to a most important person at the time in Caesarea, and perhaps in the entire province of Palestine Primae, excavation organiser said.

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Today in History

September 19, 2005

  • 1356 – English defeat French at Battle of Poitiers
  • 1796 – George Washington’s farewell address as president
  • 1812 – Napoleon’s retreat from Russia begins
  • 1848 – Bond (US) & Lassell (England) independently discover Hyperion
  • 1849 – 1st commercial laundry established in Oakland California
  • 1863 – Battle of Chickamauga Tenn; Union forces retreat
  • 1873 – Black Friday: Jay Cooke & Co fails causing a securities panic
  • 1881 – Pres Garfield dies of gunshot wound
  • 1966 – Mike Burke named Yankees president
  • 1968 – Baby born on Golden Gate Bridge (those Marin County folk!)
  • 1970 – Mary Tyler Moore show premiers
  • 1982 – Streetcars stop running on Market St after 122 years of service
  • 1983 – St Christopher-Nevis gains independence from Britain (Nat’l Day)
  • 1986 – Captain EO permieres
  • History of the World, Part 1

    September 14, 2005

    Here are some interesting world history facts.  Enjoy!

    • Acupuncture was first used as a medical treatment in 2700 BC by Chinese emperor Shen-Nung.
    • Armored knights raised their visors to identify themselves when they rode past their king. This custom has become the modern military salute.
    • Canada declared national beauty contests canceled as of 1992, claiming they were degrading to women.
    • Captain Cook lost 41 of his 98 crew to scurvy (a lack of vitamin C) on his first voyage to the South Pacific in 1768. By 1795 the importance of eating citrus was realized, and lemon juice was issued on all British Navy ships.
    • Everyone in the Middle Ages believed — as Aristotle had — that the heart was the seat of intelligence.
    • Fourteenth century physicians didn’t know what caused the plague, but they knew it was contagious. As a result they wore an early kind of bioprotective suit which included a large beaked head piece. The beak of the head piece, which made them look like large birds, was filled with vinegar, sweet oils and other strong smelling compounds to counteract the stench of the dead and dying plague victims.
    • From the Middle Ages up until the end of the 19th century, barbers performed a number of medical duties including bloodletting, wound treatment, dentistry, minor operations and bone-setting. The barber’s striped red pole originated in the Middle Ages, when it was a staff the patient would grip while the barber bled the patient.
    • In 1892, Italy raised the minimum age for marriage for girls – to 12.

    War, What is it Good For?

    September 13, 2005

    Absolutely nothing. Here are some war facts.

    • The shortest war on record, between Britain and Zanzibar in 1896, lasted just 38 minutes.
    • Bock’s Car was the name of the B-29 Bomber that dropped the Atom Bomb on Nagasaki.
    • During the US Civil war, 200,000 blacks served in the Union Army; 38,000 gave their lives; 22 won the Medal of Honor.
    • In the Holocaust between 5.1 and 6 million of Europe’s 10 million Jews were killed. An additional 6 million ‘unwanted’ people were also executed, including more than half of Poland’s educated populace.
    • More than 20,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing in action in the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862. This was the bloodiest one-day fight during the Civil War.
    • On August sixth, 1945, during World War Two, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing an estimated 140,000 people in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.
    • The Hundred Year War actually lasted 116 years (1337 to 1453).
    • The total number of Americans killed in the Civil War is greater than the combined total of Americans killed in all other wars.
    • The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.

    Presidential Facts

    September 12, 2005

    • In 1965, Congress authorized the Secret Service to protect former presidents and their spouses for their lifetime, unless they decline the protection. Recently, Congress limited the protection of former presidents and their spouses (elected after January 1, 1997) to 10 years after leaving office. President Clinton, who was elected in 1996, will be the last president to receive lifelong protection from the Secret Service.
    • Former President Cleveland defeated incumbent Benjamin Harrison in 1892, becoming the first (and, to date, only) chief executive to win non-consecutive terms to the White House.
    • President George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart in 1782. It’s a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and non-commissioned officers.
    • President Lincoln proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1863.
    • Richard Nixon was the 1st US president to visit China in February, 1972.
    • Seven of the eight US Presidents who have died in office – either through illness or assassination – were elected at precisely 20-year intervals.
    • The first losing candidate in a US presidential election was Thomas Jefferson. He lost to John Adams. George Washington had been unopposed.

    A Funny Joke

    September 11, 2005

    I will make my first real post on WP.com a funny joke I stole from Chris Miller.  So here it goes:

    A person of Polish extraction, strolling together with a professant of the Hebraic religion, encounter an Italian gentleman or lady in a certain archetypal setting. Serially, each performs zany antics, exemplifying in a humorous way his or her ethnicity!

    Hello world!

    September 11, 2005

    Welcome to WordPress.com. This is my first post. Thanks to Podz for giving me the invite. He’s the coolest Brit I know! 😛