Roman-era mosaic back in Israel as centrepiece of new museum

Israeli authorities on Monday dedicated a new museum near Tel Aviv to a magnificent Roman- era mosaic returning to its original home after years of touring the world's top museums.

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Workers perform last minute cleanup of the Lod Mosaic before the Israel Antiquities Authority inaugurates the Shelby White and Leon Levy Mosaic Lod Archeological Center in Lod, Israel, on Monday, June 27, 2022. Photo: Profimedia

The mosaic, with vibrant colours that have survived the passage of time, measures around 17 by nine metres (55 by 30 feet), depicting roaring lions, elephants in battle, giraffes and dolphins, as well as fruits, flowers in baskets, and sailing vessels.

It was discovered in the central city of Lod in 1996 and believed to have been the floor of a mansion dating back to the late third-early fourth century.

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A closeup of a section of the Lod Mosaic is displayed at the Israel Antiquities Authority inauguration of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Mosaic Lod Archeological Center in Lod, Israel, on Monday, June 27, 2022. The Center displays the 50 feet long by 27 feet wide, Roman Period (3rd to 4th century CE) mosaic which served as the floor of a living room villa. Photo: Profimedia

According to an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist, the mosaic is not only “the most luxurious one that we have here in Israel from that period”, but also “unique in its form and character”.

“It shows that artists who did this kind of work in Carthage and in Sicily travelled around the Roman world” and were commissioned for private homes, said Hagit Torge.

The mosaic was disassembled and for around a decade displayed at leading museums in the United States and Europe, while the Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center was being built. The mosaic is to go on show to the public in Israel this summer.

Lod was known as Diospolis in ancient times and served as a district capital. Today it is located near Ben Gurion international airport.

AFP

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