Famous Mosaic Found in Lod Returns Home

A worker cleans a restored Roman-era mosaic ahead of its display in its hometown ahead of the inauguration of the Shelby White & Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center, in Lod, central Israel, Monday. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

LOD, Israel (Reuters) – An exceptionally well-preserved Roman floor mosaic, showing a rich variety of fish, animals, birds and ships, has returned to the site where it was first found in the city of Lod, near Tel Aviv, after a decade-long tour of some of the world’s major museums.

The 1,700 year-old mosaic, from the late Roman period, was discovered in 1996 during highway construction work, but was not put on display until 2009, when sufficient funding to preserve it was donated.

The colorful mosaic, 55 feet long and about 29 feet wide, may have served as the foyer floor of a mansion in a wealthy neighborhood in Lod, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

“The owner was probably a very rich merchant because he travelled throughout the world and he saw things, like all the ships and the fish on display in the mosaic,” said IAA archaeologist Hagit Torge.

The design of the mosaic was influenced by North African mosaics and lacks any depiction of people, suggesting it may have belonged to someone who wanted to avoid pagan images, said archaeologist Amir Gorzalczany of the IAA.

The mosaic will now be exhibited at an archaeological center built where it was found, in Lod.

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