Bible and Archaeology News
Sixteen years ago, a beautiful and elegantly crafted third-century C.E. mosaic, festooned with lively depictions of wild beasts, birds and marine life, was discovered during roadwork near the town of Lod just south of Tel Aviv. It was only recently, however, that contributions from donors allowed the mosaic to be properly excavated and conserved.* With the work now in progress, conservators with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) are gaining new insight into the construction of the mosaic and even the mosaic master who made the floor. According to Jacques Nagar, the director of the IAA’s conservation laboratory, the mosaic is made up of over 2 million tesserae, each measuring less than 0.3 inches wide. In addition, when the mosaic was removed, the footprints of the original master were found in the floor’s plaster backing. The artist wore a size 9. “Someone worked and left [these footprints] behind,” said Nagar. “Now I’m working. There’s a psychological connection here.”
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