A team of archaeologists have uncovered an unusually well-preserved 1,600-year-old mosaic in Yavne, a city in central Israel. Dating from the Byzantine period, the geometric mosaic floor design was discovered during excavations of a bustling industrial zone that likely operated during the 4th and 5th century C.E., according to a press release published Monday from the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The pavement may have been part of a splendid residential building in a wealthy neighborhood adjacent to the industrial zone,” the statement reads.
A thick layer of patina—a type of gloss that accumulates on a surface as it ages—initially obscured the mosaic’s design, but a careful preservation at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem revealed a brilliant multicolored geometric motif set in a black rectangular frame. Additionally, several rare coins were found sealed beneath the floor.
The Yavne mosaic is the first of its kind discovered in the city, leading the archeology team to speculate as to other artifacts that might still be uncovered throughout the excavation site. So far experts have found the remains of ancient wine presses and a wine warehouse, both of which will eventually be displayed in Yavne’s forthcoming archaeological museum alongside the mosaic.
“Archaeological preservation and awareness of the past are important values in the life of the city of Yavne, which has a magnificent history,” said Zvi Gur-Ari, mayor of Yavne, in a statement. “In an age of progress and accelerated development in all fields of life, future generations should also be able to see how the city has evolved throughout history.”