The spectacular Lod mosaic that was uncovered in an archaeological excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority will be on display in the Cour du Sphinx (Sphinx Courtyard) in the Roman wing of the Louvre between May 23 and August 19. It is going to be the first official Israeli exhibition to be displayed at the museum.
The 1,700-year-old mosaic was uncovered in the city of Lod in 1996 and covered over again in order to protect it. In 2009, after obtaining the necessary funding to expose it, the Israel Antiquities Authority renewed the archaeological excavation there and removed the mosaic from the site in order to conserve it.
The mosaic measures approximately 180 square meters and is composed of colorful carpets that depict in detail mammals, birds, fish, flora and the sailing and merchant vessels that were used at that time. It is thought the mosaic floor was part of a villa that belonged to a wealthy person in the Roman period.The Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center, which will be constructed in the city of Lod where the mosaic was discovered, is presently in the advance stages of planning. The center is scheduled to be opened in the autumn of 2014.
As for the Louvre exhibition, the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman comments, “This is a great honor and achievement for the Israel Antiquities Authority and a wonderful opportunity for the millions of visitors to the museum to see the masterpiece from Lod and learn about the archaeology and history of the Land of Israel.”
The mosaic has been shown at five museums in the United States, first and foremost among them a successful presentation held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, attracting a total of some 700,000 visitors.