Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Lod Mosaic in the NY Review of Books

THE LOD MOSAIC EXHIBITION, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is reviewed in the New York Review of Books:
The Lod Mosaic

G.W. Bowersock

It’s not easy to make sense of the remarkable Lod Mosaic, a large, ancient floor newly discovered in Israel and now on display in the United States for the first time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the very difficulty of interpretation, together with the excellent state of preservation, is what makes it so fascinating. We simply don’t know whether it was part of a residence or an official building, and we can’t even say whether the owner or owners were Jewish, Christian, or pagan. The date is not secure either, although the excavator proposes about AD 300 because late third-and-fourth-century coins and ceramic scraps were found immediately above it. Miraculously, what is on display at the Met survived intact apart from one large gash near the bottom that the excavator considers ancient damage, although not everyone agrees.

There are lots of photos, and detailed discussions of the images on the mosaic.

Background here.