Saturday, July 14, 2012

BYU professor, grad help discover rare mosaic in ancient Jewish synagogue

In late June, archae­ol­o­gists dis­cov­ered a rare mosa­ic floor in a syn­a­gogue in the ancient Jew­ish vil­lage of Huqoq, near the Sea of Galilee.

The dis­cov­ery has gar­nered nation­al head­lines and been described by experts as a 'stun­ning' find, given the qual­i­ty of the art­work and how rare the mosa­ic would have been at the time.

BYU pro­fes­sor Matthew Grey and recent BYU grad­u­ate Bryan Bozung were part of the archae­o­log­i­cal team that unearthed the mosa­ic. In fact, Bozung, now a grad stu­dent at Yale, made the ini­tial dis­cov­ery.

"Dis­cov­er­ing a mosa­ic like this is one of the most excit­ing moments in an archae­ol­o­gist's career," Grey said. "Uncov­er­ing a piece of art that no one has seen for 1500 years is an incred­i­ble experience."

The mosa­ic, which is made of tiny col­ored stone cubes, dates back to the late Roman peri­od – around the 4thor 5thcen­tu­ry. It depicts two female faces flank­ing an Ara­ma­ic inscrip­tion that promis­es bless­ings upon those who keep God's com­mand­ments.