Bible Archaeology

Ancient Mosaic Floor Found Near Kibbutz Bet Qamain, Israel

It’s Byzantine and it’s spectacular:

A magnificent 1,500-year-old mosaic floor has been uncovered by archeologists  near Kibbutz Beit Kama in the south, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced  Sunday.

The mosaic was the most outstanding find in a Byzantine-era village unearthed  in the Negev during a survey conducted prior to construction of a highway.

The village, which thrived from the 4th through 6th centuries C.E.,  encompassed about six dunams – or an acre and a half – and was discovered under  the fields of the kibbutz. Among the finds was a public building measuring 12  meters by 8.5 meters (about 40 feet by 26 feet) containing the mosaic floor.  Archaeologists assume the building was a public one due to its size and relative  opulence.

The colorful mosaic includes geometric motifs and features amphorae – wine  containers— in the corners, as well as a pair of peacocks and a pair of doves  pecking at grapes on grapevines. The combination of so many motifs in one mosaic  is unusual, say Israel Antiquities Authority officials.

The building also features a system of water channels, pipes and water pools.

The site, situated on an ancient road that led north from Be’er Sheva, apparently included a large estate with a church, residential buildings, storerooms, a large water cistern, a public building and agricultural fields equipped with irrigation pools. One building appears to have served as a hostel for travelers passing through the area, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority…

The official IAA press release with more photos is here.



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