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Floral Church Mosaic from Roman Era Unearthed in Central Israel

Israel may be tiny, but it is filled with centuries of treasures waiting to be discovered. Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the uncovering of one such beauty from antiquity on Sunday—a colorful, floral-themed mosaic from a Roman Era church in central Israel.

The site was first discovered about 40 years ago, but archaeologists and student volunteers have been working on fully unearthing the mosaic only recently.

The ancient church floor is filled with an intricate mosaic with colorful floral designs—much like the anemones that bloom in the area along the Israel National Trail near Shoham.

“It’s quite feasible that the mosaic artisan sat here and was inspired by the anemones flowering all around him,” said IAA archaeologist Yair Amitzur. “When we first came to the site, the mosaic was covered over with earth and weeds. Over the last month, we have been uncovering and cleaning up the site together with the local community. We are working here among a carpet of flowering anemones.”

While the ancient church site is from the Roman period, the area was settled in the Iron Age and spanned to the time when the Ottoman Empire ruled the land, according to Anan Azab, the director of the IAA’s central district.

“It seems that the site was settled from the Iron Age or earlier, possibly as early as the Chalcolithic period, and down to the Islamic period.”

The mayor of the nearby city of Shoham was also excited at the discovery.

“I have no doubt that it will be a center of attraction for the local residents and for visitors,” Mayor Eitan Petrigo said. “I am grateful to the Israel Antiquities Authority for the initiative to uncover this fascinating site, and I thank the local pupils who participated in the project.”

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