Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Byzantine Mosaics Uncovered in Israel

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


HURA, ISRAEL—A Byzantine monastery with intact mosaics on the floors of the prayer hall and dining room was discovered during salvage excavations in the Negev Desert. The mosaics, made up of blue, red, yellow, and green tiles, depict leaves, flowers, baskets, jars, birds, and geometric patterns. The names of four of the monastery’s abbots, and the sixth-century dates that the floors were laid, are recorded in tiles. “It seems that this monastery, located near the Byzantine settlement of Horbat Hur, is one monastery in a series of monasteries situated alongside a road that linked Transjordan with the Be’er Sheva Valley,” Daniel Varga of the Israel Antiquities Authority told Live Science. Four other rooms had been paved with white mosaic tiles, and ceramic jars, cooking pots, kraters, bowls, glass vessels, and coins were found. The monastery and mosaics will be moved away from the road construction and preserved.