It’s been an exciting time for mosaic discoveries over the last couple of years. First there was the discovery of an incredible Roman mosaic in a farmer’s field in 2020. Then earlier this year, archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) unearthed a rare Roman Mosaic in London – which was the city’s biggest find in 50 years.
Now, we bring you the story of a 1,700-year-old Roman mosaic that was originally discovered in Israel, finally returning home. The mosaic, of which its design includes colourful animals, birds, fishes and ships, was first found in 1996 in a Tel Aviv suburb. It has since spent a decade touring some of the world’s best museums.
Of course, it’s well known that mosaics were a staple of Roman culture, used to decorate the floors and walls of Roman buildings. Archaeologists are led to believe that this floor mosaic was once the foyer floor of a Roman villa between the 3rd and 4th centuries.
This exquisite 17 metres of stone carpet truly signifies the brilliant craftsmanship and artistic design of the Ancient Romans.
It is then thought to have gone through multiple refurbishments throughout the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods. Then in 749 CE, it was destroyed as a result of an earthquake. After being preserved for 1,700 years, it was unearthed when construction for new roads and sewer systems began in 1996. It was then reburied until funding for its reservation could be sourced.
This incredible Mosaic has finally returned to Israel, currently on display at the Mosaic Archaeological Center in Lod, east of Tel Aviv. This centre, in particular, was created to house historical and unusual artworks. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that it was displayed – this was after it was donated due to funding for its preservation was exhausted
Once on display in historic museums such as the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this mosaic, abounding with history, has finally returned to its homeland. Much like the recent discovery in London, this mosaic was found as a result of construction work.
So, who knows what the future holds for the next mosaic discovery. We can’t wait to see what relics of bygone eras are unearthed in the near future!