First Published: 2017-08-23

1,500 year old mosaic discovered in Jerusalem
Greek inscription cites 6th-century Roman emperor Justinian as well as Constantine, who served as abbot of a church founded by Justinian in Jerusalem.
Middle East Online

Conservation experts have removed the mosaic and are treating it in a specialist workshop.

OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM - A 1,500-year-old mosaic floor with a Greek inscription has been uncovered during works to install communications cables in occupied Jerusalem's Old City - a rare discovery of an ancient relic and an historic document in one.

The inscription cites 6th-century Roman emperor Justinian as well as Constantine, who served as abbot of a church founded by Justinian in Jerusalem. Archaeologists believe it will help them to understand Justinian's building projects in the city.

The full inscription reads: "The most pious Roman emperor Flavius Justinian and the most 6God-loving priest and abbot, Constantine, erected the building in which (this mosaic) sat during the 14th indiction." Indiction is an ancient method of counting years that was used for taxation purposes. Archaeologists said the inscription suggests the mosaic dated to the year 550/551 AD.

Justinian was one of the most important rulers of the Byzantine era. In 543 AD he established the Nea Church in Jerusalem - one of the biggest Christian churches in the eastern Roman Empire and the largest in Jerusalem at the time.

"The fact that the inscription survived is an archaeological miracle," David Gellman, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement.

"Every archaeologist dreams of finding an inscription in their excavations, especially one so well preserved and almost entirely intact." Researchers believe that the building of which the mosaic was once part, located beside the Old City's Damascus Gate, was used as a hostel for pilgrims.

The mosaic, which was unveiled to the media on Wednesday, was discovered earlier this summer. Conservation experts have removed the mosaic and are treating it in a specialist workshop.

 

Bloodbath in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Two hardline Syria rebels announce merger

IS kills 25 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk

Sudan frees dozens of activists detained after protests

Saudi Arabia to host first Arab Fashion Week

Abbas calls for peace conference in rare UN speech

Egyptian court adds leading government critic on terror list

Yemen government offensive threatens heritage site

Turkey considering chemical castration for child abusers

45 civilians killed in air strikes on rebel enclave

Cairo sheds Ottoman-era street names amid Egypt-Turkey crisis

New woes for Israeli PM in fresh graft cases

Maghreb countries wary about jihadists relocating from Iraq, Syria

Erdogan says Turkey will besiege Afrin "swiftly"

Turkey releases leading pro-Kurdish politician

5 Iranian police killed in Sufi protests

Iran finds wreckage of crashed plane on top of mountain

Israel’s gas contract with Egypt: deal or no deal?

Somalia appoints new police, intelligence chiefs

Iran plane crash rescue search halted for second night

France reaffirms commitment to Iran nuclear deal

Turkey warns Syria against protecting Kurds

Abbas warms up to Moscow amid cold US-Palestinian ties

Israel strikes 'historic' gas contract with Egypt

Are Iranian satellite channels aiding regime change?

Israel pounds Gaza with air strikes after rocket attack

Iraq orders deportation of French jihadist

Pro-Assad militias to enter Syria's Afrin

Three Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai

Israeli, US officials meet over gas row with Lebanon

Iran's supreme leader says progress needed on justice

Syria Kurds claim striking positions in Turkey

Netanyahu warns Iran, brandishes piece of metal

66 feared dead as plane crashes in Iranian mountains

Saudi women to open businesses without male permission

Netanyahu slams 'outrageous' Holocaust remark by Polish PM

Israeli air strikes kill 2 in Gaza

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria