Sixth-century monastery with bold mosaics found in Israel

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An archaeologist unveils Greek inscriptions as he cleans a Byzantine mosaic floor that decorated a monastery and that was discovered during infrastructure work in the Israeli Bedouin village of Hura in the Northern part of the Negev desert on April 1, 2014. The mosaics, dated from the end of the 6th century AD, were uncovered during the construction of a new interchange on the road to settle Hura. (AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s Antiquities Authority has unveiled a monastery dating back some 1,400 years in the south of the country with impressive mosaic floors that shed light on life in the region during the Byzantine period.

Excavation director Daniel Varga called the find “spectacular” on Tuesday.


He said the monastery, discovered this week, is from the sixth century and that the detailed mosaics are unusual in the area.

Colorful designs of flora, and animals along with inscriptions in Greek and Syriac are depicted in the designs. Names of the monastery’s abbots are inscribed in the mosaics.

Pottery and glass artifacts and coins from the Byzantine period were also found at the site.

The church is believed to have been a center for Christian worship at the time.

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