After 80 years 7-million-piece mosaic from 8th century revealed

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.

The floor mosaic (by CNN)
The floor mosaic (by CNN)

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.

Geometric pattern of the floor mosaic (by Getty Images via Daily Mail Online)
Geometric pattern of the floor mosaic (by Getty Images via Daily Mail Online)

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

Details of the floor mosaic (by CNN)
Details of the floor mosaic (by CNN)

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.

Detail of the geometric pattern (by AP via Daily Mail Online)
Detail of the geometric pattern (by AP via Daily Mail Online)
Architecture of the Hisham Palace (by AP via Daily Mail Online)
Architecture of the Hisham Palace (by AP via Daily Mail Online)

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.

Detail of the floor mosaic (by CNN)
Detail of the floor mosaic (by CNN)
Details of the Tree of Life mosaic (by Getty Images via Daily Mail Online)
Details of the Tree of Life mosaic (by Getty Images via Daily Mail Online)

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.

Watering the tiles (by AFP via Daily Mail Online)
Watering the tiles (by AFP via Daily Mail Online)

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.

Section of the palace (by AFP via Daily Mail Online)
Section of the palace (by AFP via Daily Mail Online)

(after AP, AFP, Getty Images, CNN & Daily Mail Online)

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