Footprints discovered beneath ancient mosaic

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Archeologists discovered footprints underneath an ancient mosaic in Israel.

The 1,700-year-old foot and sandal prints, including an imprint of a sole that resembles a modern sandal, were uncovered when the Lod Mosaic was removed for conservation.

The mosaic, one of the largest ever found in Israel, was exposed in the city of Lod in 1996 and was covered again when no resources could be found for its conservation.

With a recent contribution from the Leon Levy Foundation, the Israel Antiquities Authority is conserving and developing the site. The mosaic was re-excavated and exhibited to the public, and now is being being removed from the area for treatment in the IAA conservation laboratories.

It is believed the mosaic floor was part of a villa that belonged to a wealthy man in the Roman period.

"Based on the concentration of foot and sandal prints, it seems that the group of builders tamped the mortar in place with their feet,” said Jacques Neguer, head of the IAA Art Conservation Branch.

“The excitement here was great. It is fascinating to discover a 1,700-year old personal mark of people who are actually like us, who worked right here on the same mosaic. We feel the continuity of generations here.”

The revealed hand and foot prints will be removed from the area. They will be conserved and returned to the site together with the mosaic.

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