After 3 months of work a 7-million-tile mosaic in Jericho within the bath house of an Islamic Era Hisham palace was revealed and is to be opened to public next year.
Archaeologists finally removed the protective cover from the one of the Near East’s largest floor mosaics. For years this work of art remained hidden. It was first discovered in 1935 by Palestinian archaeologist Dimitri Baramki, and the British archaeologist Robert Hamilton, but had been buried under sand to protect it from erosion.
The resurfaced stones bring to life stunning, nearly perfect geometric patterns, each intricately detailed in one of 38 floor sections. The patterns, in bright reds and pinks, radiate outward from the central mosaic – a floral design of interlocking triangles
The 827-square-metre mosaic covers the floor of the main bath house of an Islamic Era Hisham palace near the town of Jericho. The palace was destroyed by an earthquake in the eighth century. Since being excavated in the 1930s and 1940s, the mosaic largely remained hidden under canvas and soil to protect it against sun and rain.
The floor was first excavated in 1930 but left largely untouched until the early 21st century. Now work is beginning to make the masterpiece accessible to visitors by the end of 2018, incorporating a viewing walkway and a shelter. Last month the mosaic was displayed at the project launch, before being covered again to shield it from the surrounding construction work.
The Hisham Palace was built during the Umayyad dynasty, which lasted from 660 to 750 AD. The site covers about 60 hectares and consists of remains of a palace, audience hall, thermal bath and fountain pavilion built during the Umayyad period. Unfortunately the site was neglected during years of Jordanian, then Israeli rule.
The site is about to undergo a 13 million U.S. dollar Japanese funded project to protect it and exhibit it to visitors. According to the authorities last year 120000 people visited Hisham Palace. After the mosaic is going to be permanently uncovered the number of visitors is expected to double or triple.
(after AP, AFP, Getty Images, CNN & Daily Mail Online)