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Big Picture

Ancient mosaic

A worker of the Israel Antiquities Authority cleaning a 1,700-year-old mosaic, which served as the courtyard pavement of a villa during the Roman and Byzantine periods, on Monday in the Israeli central city of Lod.

Archaeologists accidentally found the mosaic floor last year while building a visitors' centre meant to display another mosaic, discovered about two decades earlier at the same location. That mosaic has been exhibited in some of the world's leading museums.

The authority said the newly discovered mosaic measures 11m by 13m, and is believed to be part of a "magnificent villa" in an affluent neighbourhood.

The scenes depicted on the mosaic include hunting animals, fish, flowers in baskets, vases and birds.

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

In the light of the new discovery, this part of the villa will also be incorporated in the visitor centre. Lod was known as Diospolis at the time, and served as a district capital. Today, it is located near Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion international airport.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2015, with the headline 'Ancient mosaic'. Print Edition | Subscribe