September 19, 2022
A Palestinian farmer discovered an ornate Byzantine mosaic while trying to plant an olive tree on his land in the Gaza Strip.
Salman Al Nabaheen said he and his son were digging in the ground when they discovered the remains. Later they discovered several other parts depicting colorful animals and birds.
Experts described the mosaic panel as one of the most important archaeological treasures ever found in Gaza.
Al-Nabaheen told Reuters news agency that he learned that the mosaics belonged to the Byzantine era after searching on the Internet.
It is noteworthy that the Byzantine Empire is the eastern half of the Roman Empire and lasted for more than a thousand years, starting in 330 AD.
Al Nabaheen said, “It is a precious treasure. It is part of the history of Palestine.”
Archaeologist Rene Elter, who works at the French School of Bible and Archeology in Jerusalem, described the painting to the Associated Press as “exceptional.”
“These are the most beautiful mosaic floors that were discovered in Gaza, both from an aesthetic point of view and in terms of the complexity of its engineering,” he said.
“We have not found mosaic floors with such splendor and accuracy in terms of graphics and richness of colors in the former Gaza Strip.”
The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said that international experts were assigned to complete the excavation work at the site.
It is noteworthy that the Gaza Strip has been a busy trade route over hundreds of years for many civilizations and is rich in antiquities.