Workers have discovered footprints and sandal prints from the workers who prepared a stunning Roman-era mosaic in ancient Palestine.
The 1,700 year old mosaic, which is one of the largest and most magnificent ever seen in Israel, was exposed in the city of Lod in 1996 and was covered again when no resources could be found for its conservation. Thirteen years after efforts were made to raise the large amount required to treat the unique artifact, the IAA received a contribution from the Leon Levy Foundation… The mosaic was re-excavated, exhibited to the public and is now being removed from the area for treatment in the IAA conservation laboratories. The mosaic, which constitutes a real archaeological gem that is extraordinarily well-preserved, is c. 180 sq m in size. It is composed of colorful carpets that depict in great detail mammals, birds, fish, floral species, and sailing and merchant vessels that were in use at the time. It is believed the mosaic floor was part of a villa that belonged to a wealthy man in the Roman period…
Recently the conservators were surprised to discover that the builders of the beautiful mosaic left their personal mark there: while working on the plaster bedding which is done before attaching the mosaic, the artisans trod on it wearing sandals and in their bare feet.
The city of Lod is located a little south of modern Tel Aviv. The mosaic will be heading to New York City for display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art next spring. It should be quite a thing to see.
You can get high-res pictures of the mosaic and the workers’ footprints at the bottom of this IAA page (temporary link).