Rare Byzantine Floor Mosaic Discovered

October 16, 2015  (Source: http://www.jpost.com)

The Israel Antiquities Authority displayed a rare 1,500-year-old mosaic, depicting a map with streets and buildings from ancient Egypt, on Tuesday, two years after it was discovered during an excavation in the South, conducted with the help of area school children. It will be shown to the public on October 1.

“This extraordinary mosaic served as the floor of a church dating to the Byzantine period,” said IAA spokeswoman Yoli Shwartz at the Kiryat Gat Industrial Park, where the relic was unearthed.

“It was removed from the site for the purpose of conservation, and was recently returned to its permanent location in the industrial park.”

The excavation of the mosaic was underwritten by the Y.S. Gat Company-Kiryat Gat Industrial Park Management Company. IAA archeologists Sa’ar Ganor and Rina Avner said the appearance of buildings on mosaic floors is a rare phenomenon in the country.

“The buildings are arranged along a main colonnaded street of a city, in a sort of ancient map,” said Avner. “A Greek inscription preserved alongside one of the buildings exposed in the mosaic indicates that the place which is depicted is the settlement Chortaso (Kartasa), in Egypt.”

According to Christian tradition, the archeologist continued, the prophet Habakkuk was buried in Chortaso.

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