A salvage excavation in the Negev desert, Israel, has unearthed a beautiful Byzantine-era monastery. What’s left of it are several chambers, pottery, coins and a two large mosaic floors, one with a centred design.
I don’t know if it’s just me that’s noticed, but lately there have been a few Byzantine discoveries being made, like the one in the Turkish Lake, and another one also discovered in Israel with a mosaic.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence that it’s all happening at the same time, as there are loads buried beneath the earth, but this one stands out as it has a massive mosaic decoration. With white tiles on the outside with diamond-shape styles, the main focus is on the central design, involving red, yellow, blue and green colours.
The other hall also has a large mosaic floor with planner design of what looks like “little trees”. But the border of this floor is beautiful with intricate ribbon-like features.
Archaeologists have been able to date the monastery to the second-half of the 6th century AD due to dates inscribed in the different halls. The central mosaic design has Greek text conveying the abbots’ names: Eliyahu, Nonus, Solomon and Ilrion, framed by different objects. In one section there are two languages used – Greek and Syriac.
As well as the mosaic, excavators found pottery like jars, bowls and amphoraes, along with glass vessels and coins, revealing this monastery was pretty well off.
The monastery is close to the ancient Byzantine village of Horbat Hur, and was found when the IAA (Israel Antiques Authority) were excavating before the construction of a highway through the region. Good thing they checked then, otherwise this beautiful slice of ancient history would’ve slipped away.
For more, check out Archaeology News Network
*I don’t own these pics.