1600 Year-Old Mosaic to Go On Display in Yavne

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The 1,600 year old mosaic discovered near Tel Yavne. Photo by Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority

An impressive ancient mosaic found during archaeological excavations in Yavne is to go on show at the city’s cultural center

By: Jon Schiller

A 1600-year-old mosaic dating back to the Byzantine period (4th-5th Century CE), unearthed during an archaeological excavation near Yavne, is to be placed on public display in the plaza outside the city’s cultural center.

The joint initiative was launched by the City of Yavne, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Land Authority.

Detail of the colorful mosaic discovered in Yavne. Photo by Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority

The colorful mosaic, which is believed to have been part of a wealthy family’s home, was discovered on a dig southeast of Tel Yavne – an ancient city where archeologists have discovered evidence of settlements dating as far back as the Bronze Age (3300 BC – 1200 BC).

In recent years, the Israel Antiquities Authority has been conducting the large-scale excavations in the area, as part of the Israel Land Authority’s city development program.

The excavations, directed by Dr. Elie Haddad, Liat Nadav-Ziv and Dr. Jon Seligman, also unearthed an extensive industrial zone that was in operation for several centuries. The neighborhood where the mosaic was discovered was believed to have been adjacent to the industrial zone.

Archeologists believe the mosaic was part of a family home. Photo by Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority

At first the archeologists thought they had stumbled upon a simple white mosaic belonging to yet another industrial installation. However, they noticed a few black patches on the mosaic, which suggested that it contained more than one color. Using a special acid to remove the whitish patina that had coated the mosaic for centuries, the archeologists were astonished to find a colorful mosaic carpet, ornamented with geometric motifs.

The mosaic was then temporarily transferred to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s mosaic workshop at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, where it was treated and preserved by the authority’s conservation experts.

As part of an endeavor to make archeology accessible to the town’s residents, Yavne’s municipality has decided to display the mosaic in the plaza near the town’s cultural center, and is currently preparing the infrastructure for its placement.

Close up detail of the mosaic. Photo by Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority

The mosaic’s relocation and preservation will be carried out using ancient technological methods and employing materials similar to those used in antiquity.

“Archaeological preservation and awareness of the past are important values in the life of the city of Yavne, which has a magnificent history, says Yavne Mayor Zvi Gur-Ari. “In an age of progress and accelerated development in all fields of life, future generations should also be able to see how the city has evolved throughout history,” he added.

For more information on mosaics in Israel, click here. https://www.israel21c.org/9-magnificent-ancient-mosaics-of-israel/

The dig near Yavne. Photo by Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority

                        (www.Israel21c.org)