In 1996, a routine excavation in the city of Lod uncovered a portion of an elaborate mosaic from the 3rd or 4th century CE. Archaeologists came across other sections in the ensuing years and, after extensive restoration efforts, have recently returned it to its original location, where a special museum has been built to house it. Amanda Borschel-Dan, who calls it “one of the most beautiful treasures of Roman-era Holy Land,” writes:
Made up of several panels, the Lod mosaic is some seventeen meters long and nine meters wide—approximately 180 square meters in area (some 1,940 square feet). Among the colorful illustrations found on the mosaic are boats with oars, and animals including elephants, lions, birds, fish, and crustaceans. There are also plant life and flowers, vases, and geometric patterns.
The combination of mosaics, artifacts, and architectural evidence such as frescos from the late-3rd and early 4th-century Roman period uncovered in the excavations provides evidence of Mediterranean luxury that characterized the Roman empire, said the Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Amir Gorzalczany, who directed one of the excavations following the discovery of a new section.