Ancient Roman house with frescoes discovered

A Roman house dating back 1900 years was found at Omrit in northern Israel. The structure is decorated with frescoes depicting nature scenes.

Frescoes found in the house (by Dan Schowalter)

Archaeologists believe that the building dates to the late first or early second century AD. The floor was found plastered and its walls were covered in frescoes. The frescoes show images of trees, bushes, birds, fish and plants. One includes two ducks huddled together. Archaeologists believe that it might have been owned by a Roman official who was stationed in the area, but it could also could have been the home of a local elite member who adopted some traditional Roman motifs in decoration. Archaeologists excavated only a part of the house, being probably a courtyard. The house appears to have been demolished during the early third century, as archaeologists found a layer of fill on top of the remains of the house. On top of that layer, a new building that resembles a  covered portico was constructed.

Aerial view of the site (by Dan Schowalter)

Several phallus-shaped amulets were found in the layer of fill that covered the demolished house. Such amulets have been found in many parts of the Roman Empire and may have been worn to help prevent misfortune.

(after Live Science & Dan Schowalter)

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