Ornate collection of mosaics uncovered near Jericho

Archaeologists from the Archaeology Unit of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, COGAT, have uncovered several large mosaics near Jericho in the West Bank.

The mosaics are part of a large building complex, measuring around 250 square meters (2,700 square feet), that was first built sometime in the 6th century AD during the Byzantine period.

- Advertisement -

Archaeologists suggest that the structure was a likely a church or basilica, indicated by the discovery of depictions of birds, animals and vine braids in the mosaic floor, and the high-status materials of marble and bitumen stones used in the construction.

The nave is mostly preserved and has an adjacent prayer area where a three-metre-long inscription was found in Greek, commemorating “Georgios” and “Nonus” who donated to the church.

Image Credit : COGAT

In AD 635, the Levant was invaded by an Arab army under the command of ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, and became the province of Bilad al-Sham of the Rashidun Caliphate. Following the collapse of Byzantine rule, the church continued to be used throughout the Early Muslim Period.

This is surprising, as Islam prohibited the display of imagery showing individuals as religious icons. Due to this doctrine, it was common for Muslim rulers to practice iconoclasm and deface or destroy religious imagery and structures.

- Advertisement -

The church also appears to have survived the great 749 Galilee earthquake which largely destroyed the cities of Tiberias, Beit She’an, Pella, Gadara, and Hippos, however, several years later the church was abandoned, and the entrance mysteriously blocked off.

Following the discovery, the Civil Administration plans to replicate the mosaic in order to display it at the “Good Samaritans” museum site.

Header Image Credit : COGAT


- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Pyramid of the Moon marked astronomical orientation axis of Teōtīhuacān

Teōtīhuacān, loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods," is an ancient Mesoamerican city situated in the Teotihuacan Valley, Mexico.

Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered in Malmesbury

Archaeologists have discovered an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in the grounds of the Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury, England.

Musket balls from “Concord Fight” found in Massachusetts

Archaeologists have unearthed five musket balls fired during the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, United States.

3500-year-old ritual table found in Azerbaijan

Archaeologists from the University of Catania have discovered a 3500-year-old ritual table with the ceramic tableware still in...

Archaeologists unearth 4,000-year-old temple complex

Archaeologists from the University of Siena have unearthed a 4,000-year-old temple complex on Cyprus.

Rare cherubs made by master mason discovered at Visegrád Castle

A pair of cherubs made by the Renaissance master, Benedetto da Maiano, have been discovered in the grounds of Visegrád Castle.

Archaeologists discover ornately decorated Tang Dynasty tomb

Archaeologists have discovered an ornately decorated tomb from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) during excavations in China’s Shanxi Province.

Archaeologists map the lost town of Rungholt

Rungholt was a medieval town in North Frisia, that according to local legend, was engulfed by the sea during the Saint Marcellus's flood in 1362.