Israel's Antiquities Authority unveiled Monday an impressive mosaic that paved the courtyard pavement of a magnificent villa some 1,700 years ago.
Measuring 36 feet by 42 feet, the colorful mosaic was unearthed in the central Israeli city of Lod last year during the construction of a visitor center for the Lod Mosaic, one of the most spectacular artwork in the country that was discovered two decades ago in the same place. It covered the villa's living room.
"The villa was part of a neighborhood of affluent houses that stood here during the Roman and Byzantine periods," Amir Gorzalczany, excavation director, said in a statement.
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"At that time Lod was called Diospolis and was the district capital, until it was replaced by Ramla after the Muslim conquest. The building was used for a very long time," he added.
The new mosaic features scenes of hunting and hunted animals, fish, flowers in baskets, vases and birds.
"The quality of the images indicates a highly developed artistic ability," Gorzalczany said.
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Currently on display at the Cini Gallery in Venice, Italy, the Lod Mosaic has been exhibited in recent years in some of the world's leading museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Louvre in Paris, and the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg.
It will return to Lod after the visitors' center is finished.
The part of the villa containing the new mosaic will also be incorporated in the new display.