When you hire me as your guide I can take you places and show you things you probably won’t find on your own. Out of Jerusalem along highway 375 is the shell of a small stone building with a sand floor.
The site is from the Byzantine period, the ruins of a monastery with a mosaic floor including an inscription in Greek dated to 563CE. All you have to do is sweep aside the sand (put there to protect the mosaic).
Unfortunately, because the location is accessible somebody took advantage of this and two days ago destroyed the mosaic. According to the report in YNet Israel Antiquities Authority staff collected 23 bags full of the scattered stone cubes (tesserae) from the mosaic. I had even driven by the site on two different days last week on my way to photograph a field covered with thousands of red poppies and had thought to stop and take photographs but didn’t.
These photographs are from a few years ago and I post them here so that you can see what was destroyed. It is terrible when something like this happens.
Khirbet Hanut is not far from Khirbet Midras where the stunning mosaics uncovered in a Byzantine church were vandalized just over a year ago. I posted photographs of those mosaics at http://israeltours.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/mosaics-hirbet-midras/