Unveiled Monday by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the restored mosaic was found in 2005 during the excavation of Bird Palace in Caesarea, Israel. The gleaming panel of traditional glass and rare gold tesserae appears to be of Christian origins, and somehow survived the destruction of the palace in astonishingly good condition.
Yael Gurin-Rosen, head of the IAA’s glass department, said that the mosaic panel is the first of its kind to be excavated in Israel, and due to the quality of its preservation, given its age, and its gleaming, gilded craftsmanship indicating Christian origins, it is most likely the only one in the world.
“It’s a unique find, a piece of art,” Joseph Patrich, professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. “It’s in its original state,” Patrich said, “because the panel fell face down, protecting its green, blue and gold facade from debris and damage.”