Israeli archaeologists have discovered a rare 1,800-year-old Roman mosaic in the Caesarea National Park.
The mosaic dates to between the second and third centuries A.D. Another building was also found and is believed to be what we now know as the shopping mall.
The excavation work is part of a reconstruction project at the entrance bridge to the park and a promenade from the town of Jisr al-Zarq to the park.
The Israel Antiquities Authority says the reconstruction project is the largest ever undertaken in Israel, costing some $28.5 million.
The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Caesarea Development Corporation are underwriting the project.
"Old Caesarea never stops surprising, fascinating and thrilling us, time after time revealing slices of history of worldwide significance," said Guy Swersky, vice chairman of the Edmond D. Rothschild Foundation.
The discovery of the mosaic was “exciting,” Swersky said.
It has three figures, multicolored geometric patterns and a Greek inscription. The three men represented are wearing togas and most likely belonged to the upper class.
“If the mosaic was part of a mansion, the figures may have been the owners," said Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, executive directors for the project. "If this was a public building, they might have represented the donors of the mosaic or members of the city council."
The other building discovered dates to the Byzantine period, which was about 1,500 years ago. Experts say the building was probably used for commerce and socializing— an ancient shopping mall.
Publication date: February 8, 2018