jueves, 17 de abril de 2014

Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel

One of the oldest surviving complete Roman mosaics dating from 1,700 years ago, a spectacular discovery made in Lod in Israel, will go on show at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, UK. The exhibition Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel is presented in association with the Israel Antiquities Authority and in collaboration with the British Museum, from 5 June – 2 November 2014.
Measuring eight metres long and four metres wide, and in exceptional condition, the Lod mosaic depicts a paradise of birds, animals, shells and fishes, including one of the earliest images of a rhinoceros and a giraffe, richly decorated with geometric patterns and set in lush landscapes.

Ancient city of Lydda

The mosaic was accidentally discovered in 1996, during highway construction work in the Israeli town of Lod, the site of the ancient city of Lydda, just a few miles from Tel Aviv. Lydda was destroyed by the Romans during the Jewish War in 66 AD. It was later re-founded by Hadrian, remained in Roman hands until becoming a Christian city, and eventually succumbed to Arab conquerors in 636 AD.
Mystery surrounds the Lod mosaic: it is thought to have been laid in approximately 300 AD, forming the floor of a private house of a wealthy patron. The rest of the mudbrick walls, once covered with frescoes, had collapsed and preserved the mosaics, but the full extent of the entire complex has yet to be determined. The juxtaposition of animal hunting scenes and a marine scene, combined with the lack of human figures on any of the floors, makes the Lod mosaic uniquely interesting.
The public reaction to the discovery has been extraordinary. When the mosaic was uncovered for a single weekend, over 30,000 people travelled to Lod to see it. Work has now begun to create a permanent museum for the mosaic, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center, on the site of its original discovery, and due to open in late 2015.

A world tour

The exhibition at Waddesdon follows a world tour including presentations of the mosaic at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Louvre in Paris and most recently the Altes Museum in Berlin. Following the Waddesdon showing, the mosaic will travel for its last public exhibition to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg in December 2014.
At Waddesdon, the mosaic will be installed in the Coach House gallery, with a purpose-built viewing platform, enabling visitors to study the entire layout of the mosaic in optimum conditions, as well as enjoying close access to all the details. There will be an accompanying exhibition, which will set the mosaic in its historical, social and artistic context, with objects loaned from the British Museum, and documenting the story of its discovery and restoration. The display will also cast light on the important role of the Rothschild family as collectors and supporters of archaeological excavations.

Source: Past Horizons: http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/04/2014/predators-and-prey-a-roman-mosaic-from-lod-israel

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