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1,700-Year-Old Mosaic Showing a 'Highly Developed Artistic Ability' Discovered in Israel

"The building was used for a very long time."

An employee of Israel’s antiquities authority works on a 1,700-year-old Roman-era mosaic floor in Lod, Israel, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. Archaeologists found the mosaic last year while building a visitors’ center meant to display another mosaic, discovered two decades earlier at the same spot. The authority said the newly discovered Roman-era mosaic measures 11 meters by 13 meters (36 feet by 42 feet) and paved the courtyard of a villa in an affluent neighborhood that stood during the Roman and Byzantine eras. (AP/Ariel Schalit)\n

LOD, Israel (TheBlaze/AP) -- Israel's antiquities authority on Monday unveiled a 1,700-year-old mosaic floor that archaeologists found last year while building a visitors' center meant to display another mosaic, discovered two decades earlier at the same location.

The authority said the newly discovered Roman-era mosaic measures 36 feet by 42 feet and paved the courtyard of a villa in an affluent neighborhood that stood during the Roman and Byzantine eras. The scenes include hunting animals, fish, vases and birds.

A partial view of a 1,700-year-old Roman-era mosaic floor in Lod, Israel, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. Archaeologists found the mosaic last year while building a visitors� center meant to display another mosaic, discovered two decades earlier at the same spot. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

"The quality of the images portrayed in the mosaic indicates a highly developed artistic ability," said Amir Gorzalczany, who directed the excavation.

The new mosaic was found just a few yards from the first one, in what is today the central Israeli city of Lod.

The mosaic paved the courtyard of a villa in an affluent neighborhood that stood during the Roman and Byzantine eras. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

The authority said the newly discovered Roman-era mosaic measures 11 meters by 13 meters (36 feet by 42 feet). (AP/Ariel Schalit)

"The villa we found was part of a neighborhood of affluent houses that stood here during the Roman and Byzantine periods. At that time Lod was called Diospolis and was the district capital, until it was replaced by Ramla after the Muslim conquest. The building was used for a very long time," Gorzalczany said in a statement.

The authority said the mosaic discovered in the 1990s covered the villa's living room while the newly discovered one was in its courtyard.

The original mosaic has been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Louvre in Paris, and the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg. It is currently on display at the Cini Gallery in Venice, Italy, and is expected to return to Lod after the visitors' center is complete.

This most recent mosaic is one of several discovered in Israel this year alone. A 1,500-year-old mosaic on a church floor depicting scenes from an early Christian community was announced in September. Another announced in July was discovered in the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

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