Biblical Archaeology Review 9:4, July/August 1983


Biblical Archaeology Review

Israel Museum Searches for Stones to Match Kissufim Mosaic

Two major sections of the extensive church floor mosaic uncovered at Kibbutz Kissufim, east of Gaza, presently on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, will be replaced by replicas, and the originals returned to the excavation site. (For a complete description and color photographs of this mosaic floor, see “The Marvelous Mosaics of Kissufim,” BAR 06:01). The replicas will be almost exact copies because the stones for the tessarae are to be matched as closely as possible in color and cut. The gradations of color in the different areas of this magnificent mosaic floor are extremely varied: there are at least six shades of yellow, eight of red and five of gray. Staff from the Museum and from the Israel Institute of Geology expect to spend a year searching sites around Jerusalem and in the Negev for the needed colors.

Discovered in 1977 by a kibbutz tractor driver who was plowing a new field, this sixth-century Byzantine church floor included many delicately worked scenes: for example, sheep grazing, a lion attacking a bull, men hunting, and women bringing gifts to the church.

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