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Byzantine Mosaic Unearthed at Ashdod-Yam

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ashdod Yam mosaicASHDOD, ISRAEL—The Times of Israel reports that a mosaic dating to the Byzantine period has been unearthed in the ancient city of Ashdod-Yam, or Azotus in Greek. The mosaic, found on the floor of a 1,500-year-old Christian church, bears a Greek inscription recording when the church was constructed—the year 292, according to the Georgian calendar, or A.D. 539. Archaeologists led by Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University, Angelika Berlejung of Leipzig University, Balbina Bäbler of the University of Göttingen, and Sa’ar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority say the inscription is the earliest-known use of the Georgian calendar in the world, as well as the first time a Georgian church or monastery has been found on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. The scholars suggest the mosaic supports historical sources that mention the presence of Georgian bishop and philosopher Peter the Iberian in Ashdod-Yam. The church is thought to have been part of a larger complex.

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