Researchers have found magnificent mosaics dating back to the Byzantine Period in the sixth century, while excavating at Tel Shikmona in Israel. The mosaics are thought to be part of an ecclesiastic structure.
The University of Haifa say the excavations are taking place as part of a project funded by the Hecht Foundation, to expand the Hecht Park in Haifa, Israel and finally transform Shikmona into a public archaeological park.
The statement says archaeological excavations at Tel Shikmona were conducted in the 1960s-1970s under the direction of the late Yosef Algavish, on behalf of the Haifa Municipality’s Museum of Ancient Art. Over the past decades, however, the earlier findings have been damaged, construction waste has piled up on the site, and off-road vehicles have ploughed over it.
The current excavation team is directed by Dr. Michael Eisenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa. They have been working at carefully removing the layers of waste that piled up over the mosaic floors without causing further damage to the spectacular artwork, cleaning the floors and preserving them, and thus prime them for public display. The next step for the team is excavating a part of the tell (earthern mound or hill) itself and expanding the excavations to the south of Tel Shikmona.
Although a relatively small site, a wealth of ancient relics has been unearthed at Tel Shikmona, dating back over two thousand years, from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Period. Past excavations have made an intriguing collection of findings at the site of the tell, in its surrounding areas and on the beach close by, where pools and mooring facilities for boats were revealed.
Tel Shikmona is part of the Shikmona National Park in the Shikmona Nature Reserve, managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.