Archaeologists have uncovered an "extraordinary" mosaic that would've been used as the floor of a public building during the Byzantine Period in what is today Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced.
The colorful mosaic and public building, whose ceiling was covered in roof tiles, were uncovered in Kibbutz Bet Qama, in the B'nei Shimon regional council, prior to the construction of a road between Ma'ahaz and Devira Junction.
"The minute we started excavating we found the mosaic, before we found the edges of the building," Davida Eisenberg Degen, an archaeologist with the IAA, told LiveScience during an interview. (See Images of the Byzantine Mosaic)
The mosaic would've extended the area of the main building, with a total area about 40 feet long by 28 feet wide (12 meters by 8.5 meters). Divided into three squares with circles within each, the mosaic was decorated with "interwoven designs," Degen said. At each corner were amphoras, or jars used to hold wine, and other designs, such as two peacocks flanking an amphora, a dove and a partridge, and one amphora with a pomegranate and a lemonlike fruit inside.