From a Lod garbage dump to the Louvre
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From a Lod garbage dump to the Louvre

Spectacular 1,700-year-old mosaic floor is first Israeli item loaned to the French museum

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Excavation of the Lod mosaic (photo credit: Niki Davidov/courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
Excavation of the Lod mosaic (photo credit: Niki Davidov/courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

The Louvre museum in Paris opened its first-ever Israeli exhibit Thursday, displaying a 1,700-year-old mosaic floor that was recovered from a garbage dump near Lod in central Israel.

The exhibition marks the first time the Israel Antiquities Authority is loaning objects to the renowned French museum. Shuka Dorfman, the director of the authority, said the exhibition was a wonderful opportunity for millions of visitors to see the masterpiece and learn about the history and archaeology of Israel, the Maariv daily reported.

The mosaic is one of the largest found in Israel as well as one of the most colorful and magnificent. It measures some 180 square meters (just under 2,000 sq. ft.) and features multihued birds, mammals, fish and plants from the region, as well as sailing vessels in use at the time it was created.

Found under a garbage dump in 1996, it was covered and guarded until it was finally excavated and removed in 2009. It will be displayed in the Louvre’s Roman area until mid-August.

The mosaic floor, which archaeologists believe was part of a wealthy man’s house, has been previously displayed in Israel and the US, including an exhibit in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Part of the Lod mosaic (photo credit: Niki Davidov/courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
Part of the Lod mosaic (photo credit: Niki Davidov/courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
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