All of the floors recently uncovered in the church at Hirbet Midras have incredible mosaics, that are extraordinarily well preserved. The mosaics include both intricate geometric designs and floral, fauna, fish, birds and fruit. The tesserae are fine, 7mm cubes in an assortment of colors enabling the artists to create realistic images. You can click on any of the images to see it in higher resolution.
The apse of the church with a geometric rectangular carpet; the curved part has an image of a rooster and duck in a design of grapevine tendrils and bunches of grapes.
Display of mosaics in the aisle, geometric patterns on either side of a panel with chukar birds.
Close up of the chukar bird panel.
Panel that combines birds, fish and lotus.
Image of a lion attacking what looks like an ibex among grapevines. Interesting to compare it with the image of the lion attacking the deer under the tree from Hisham’s Palace (Khirbet El-Mafjar, 7th century) near Jericho.
Caesarea Maritima was a city and harbor built on the ruins of Straton’s Tower by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE. It’s a very popular site, the archaeological park lies on the Mediterranean coast of Israel about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. The city of Caesarea was described in detail by the 1st century Roman Jewish historian Josephus.
The city became the seat of the Roman praefecti soon after its founding. In 1961 Italian archaeologists excavating the theater found a stone inscription with the name of Pontius Pilate, according to the New Testament the Roman Governor responsible for ordering that Jesus be put to death, the first archaeological evidence that Pilate existed.
While visiting the Herodian, Roman, Byzantine and Crusader ruins of Caesarea make sure to see the nearby aqueduct and Bird mosaic, a large rectangular mosaic ‘rug’ on the floor of an extravagant palace first uncovered in 1950 but only conserved and viewable by the public in 2004. It’s a tapestry of the land of Israel and includes fruit trees and animals native to Israel (lion, tiger, bear, wild boar, ibex, dog, elephant, deer and bull) bordering 120 round medallions, each of which contains a different bird.
The owner of the palace is unknown but was obviously extremely wealthy. Built in the sixth century, the palace included a hall with the mosaic floor, columns, an open roofed yard and a second floor. The findings indicate an exceptionally developed water and drainage system that included inclined floors, water canals and recessed wells.