1,600-Year-Old Mosaic Discovered in Coastal City of Yavne
Ancient mosaic discovered in Yavne

The multicolored mosaic pavement, dating back to the Byzantine period, was uncovered during the development of a new neighborhood.


A 1,600-year-old mosaic was recently found during archaeological excavations in the coastal city of Yavne, carried out prior to the development of a new neighborhood.

In recent years, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has been conducting large-scale archaeological excavations to the southeast of Tel Yavne as part of the Israel Land Authority’s city development program.

The excavations, directed by Dr. Elie Haddad, Liat Nadav-Ziv, and Dr. Jon Seligman, unearthed an extensive industrial zone that was in operation for several centuries.

This is the first time that such a pavement has been uncovered in Yavne, and it is well-preserved and in excellent condition.

“The pavement may have been part of a splendid residential building in a wealthy neighborhood adjacent to the industrial zone,” the archeologists said.

The multicolored mosaic pavement, dated to the Byzantine period, the 4th-5th century CE, consists of colorful geometric motifs and has a black rectangular frame.

“At first, we did not realize that the floor is multicolored,” said Dr. Elie Haddad and Dr. Hagit Torgë. “We assumed that it was simple white mosaic paving belonging to yet another industrial installation. But black patches dotted around the mosaic suggested that it was more than one color and prompted us to remove the whitish patina that had coated it for years.”

The conservation director cleaned the mosaic with a special acid and a colorful mosaic carpet was revealed, ornamented with geometric motifs.

After the mosaic was documented and photographed on site, it was removed and temporarily transferred to the IAA’s mosaic workshop at the Rockefeller Museum, where it has been treated and preserved by the authority’s conservation experts.

The mosaic will be placed in the plaza near Yavne’s cultural center.

The mosaic’s relocation and preservation will be carried out using ancient technological methods and employing materials similar to those used in antiquity.

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