Salman al-Nabahin excavated the ruins six months ago while working in his olive grove in the Bureij refugee camp, about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the border with Israel.
Salman al-Nabahin discovered the mosaic six months ago while working in his olive grove. Credit: Ibrahim Dahman / CNN
Trying to figure out why some trees didn’t take root properly, Nabahin said he and his son started digging. Then, his son’s ax hit something very strong and strangely shaped.
“I searched on the internet… We were told it was a mosaic from the Byzantine era,” said the father of seven, sitting next to his discovery. “I consider it a treasure, dearer than a treasure. It belongs to no one, it belongs to all Palestinians.”
Salman al-Nabahin’s son Ahmad Salman Nabahin smashed the mosaic with an ax before it was discovered. Credit: Ibrahim Dahman / CNN
The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the floor included several mosaics depicting animals and other features of social life during the Byzantine period. The Byzantine Empire lasted from around the time the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western Empires in 395 until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
“Archaeological discovery is still in the early stages and we wait to know more about the secrets and values of the civilization,” the ministry said in a statement. “National research groups are working in collaboration with international experts and scientists from the French School of Archeology.”
The mosaics depict animals and other features of life in the Byzantine period. Credit: Ibrahim Dahman / CNN
Gaza is rich in artifacts, having been an important trading site for civilizations as far back as the Ancient Egyptians and Philistines described in the Bible, to the Roman Empire and the Crusades. Chinh.
Several discoveries have been made in recent years. But due to a lack of funding and relevant experts, Gaza often invites international groups to assist in the excavation and preservation process.