Intricate sixth century CE floor mosaics have been uncovered at Tel Shikmona park in northern Israel, the University of Haifa announced on Tuesday.
The mosaics were unearthed by researchers from the university's Institute of Archaeology, who were taking part in renewed digs at the site. Archaeological digs were held at Tel Shikmona throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but the site was neglected for decades and became strewn with trash. Since the discovery was made, researchers have been working to remove the built-up garbage and clean the mosaic floors, in order to prepare them for viewing by the public.
Researchers say the well-preserved mosaics date back to the Byzantine period and were part of an ecclesiastic structure. A number of archaeological finds have been discovered at the seaside tel south of Haifa, including an Egyptian tomb, a Persian citadel, and a number of luxury items from the Bronze Age. Earlier finds have shown that Shikmona was inhabited over a range of time from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period, and was the main city of the Haifa and Carmel area from the 4th century BCE to the Muslim conquest in the 7th century AD.
The site is part of the Shikmona National Park in the Shikmona Nature Reserve and is managed by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority. Plans are underway for the site to become a public archaeological park that will be annexed to the Hecht park in Haifa.