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Salman al-Nabahin unearthed the remains six months ago while working in his olive orchard at the Burij refugee camp, about a kilometer (0.6 mi) from the border with Israel.
The mosaic was uncovered six months ago by Salman al-Nabahin while working in his olive orchard. Credit: Ibrahim Dahman/CNN
Trying to figure out why some trees didn’t take root properly, Nabahin said he and his son had started digging. Then his son’s ax hit some hard and unfamiliar object in appearance.
“I searched the Internet … we found out it was a mosaic belonging to the Byzantine era,” said the father of seven, sitting next to his find. “I see it as a treasure, more dear than a treasure. It is not personal, it belongs to every Palestinian.”
Ahmed Salman Nabahin, son of Salman al-Nabahin, struck the mosaic with an ax before it was discovered. Credit: Ibrahim Dahman/CNN
The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities stated that the floor consisted of several mosaic panels depicting animals and other features of social life during the Byzantine era. The Byzantine Empire lasted from the split of the Roman Empire into the Eastern and Western Empires in 395 until its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
“The archaeological discovery is still in its early stages and we look forward to unraveling more mysteries and values of civilization,” the ministry said in a statement. “National research teams are working in partnership with international experts and scientists from the French Archaeological School.”
Mosaic panels depict animals and other features of life during the Byzantine era. Credit: Ibrahim Dahman/CNN
Gaza is rich in antiquities, having been an important trading place for civilizations from the ancient Egyptians and Philistines depicted in the Bible to the Roman Empire and the Crusades.
Many discoveries have been made in recent years. But due to a lack of funding and relevant professionals, Gaza has usually invited international groups to help with the excavation and conservation process.