While working on a construction site in Israel, back in 1996, a group of workers came upon a 2,000 year-old ancient mosaic dating back to Roman times. Funny enough, this mosaic was just hiding underneath the street they were working on. Now, building a visitor’s center dedicated to that discovery, construction workers yet again unearthed another, even greater mosaic, right next to the original one. In fact, the whole area was once part of a wealthy and affluent Roman neighborhood.
Both mosaics were part of a villa. While the original one made up the floor of the living room, the recently discovered one, made up the inner courtyard of the wealthy villa. Measuring some 42-feet, the new discovery depicts hunting scenes, showing animals, fish, flowers in baskets, vases and birds. According to Dr. Amir Gorzalczany, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The quality of the images portrayed in the mosaic indicates a highly developed artistic ability.”
He goes on to say: “The villa we found was part of a neighborhood of affluent houses that stood here during the Roman and Byzantine periods,”.
Since its discovery back in the 1990’s the first mosaic was on display all around the world. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to the the Louvre and even the Hermitage is Russia, the panel is now in Venice and awaits the completion of the visitor center, in order to return to its hometown of Lod in Israel.
Given the fact that both these amazing mosaic floors have been discovered by pure accident and are the biggest ever found in Israel, together with the fact that most of the area is currently covered by modern buildings, the entire site might still hold numerous other equally beautiful mysteries.