Israeli archeologists unveil Byzantine mosaic, table

September 19, 2005

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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