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Jericho unveils huge, centuries-old mosaic

Mon., Oct. 11, 2010, midnight

Visitors look at part of a carpet mosaic on Sunday.  (Associated Press)
Visitors look at part of a carpet mosaic on Sunday. (Associated Press)

JERICHO, West Bank – Visitors to ancient Jericho got a rare glimpse Sunday of a massive 1,200-year-old carpet mosaic measuring nearly 9,700 square feet, making it one of the largest in the Middle East.

The small red, blue and ochre square stones laid out in sweeping geometric and floral patterns cover the floor of the main bath house of an Islamic palace that was destroyed by an earthquake in the eighth century. Since being excavated in the 1930s and 1940s, the mosaic has largely remained hidden to protect it.

Starting Sunday, a small section will be laid bare for a week, as part of Jericho’s 10,000th birthday celebrations. The mosaic then will be covered up again until the money is found to build a roof that would serve as a permanent weather shield, said Palestinian archaeologist Hamdan Taha.


 

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