Ancient glass mosaic found in Israel

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Ancient glass mosaic found in Israel

An ancient glass moasic found in a ruined palace in Caesarea has been restored after years of painstaking work.

I am always reminded of the saying of Jesus that goes along the line of "Caesarea will you go up to heaven? No you will go down to the depths". And it did, in an earthquake that sank most of the city under the waves.

Experts have restored a one-of-a-kind 1,400-year-old glass mosaic glowing in gold, recovered from a site next to the Mediterranean Sea, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

The mosaic panel is believed by the Israel Antiquities Authority to be the only one in the world due to both the quality of its preservation, given its age, and its gleaming, gilded craftsmanship indicating Christian origins.

"It's a unique find, a piece of art," Joseph Patrich, professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "It's in its original state," Patrich said, because the panel fell face down, protecting its green, blue and gold facade from debris and damage.

The mosaic was discovered in 2005 in Caesarea, an ancient city on the Mediterranean Sea known for its Roman, Byzantine and Crusader ruins. During excavation of a palace, the original floor was exposed, revealing the panel lying face down in one of the larger paved mosaics.

Detached from the floor in a risky operation, conservationists were then faced with the task of removing centuries of dirt and fire damage from the destruction of the palace in the late Byzantine Era in late 6th or early 7th century A.D., Patrich said.

The mosaic is particularly important because the small colored tiles forming it features two styles of tiling: gold glass and the more traditional multicolored, opaque glass commonly associated with mosaics, he said. The tiles depict two motifs: crosses and eight-petalled rosettes.

The owner and origin of the palace in which the panel was found is unclear — all that is known is that the residents were likely Christian, experts said. The original role of the restored panel also remains unknown.

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By netchicken: posted on 31-1-2008

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