Archeologists discover 1,500 year-old mosaic floor in Jerusalem


Inscription mentions builder of church and Emperor Flavius Justinian; Archeologists: It shows us how important Jerusalem was to the entire Christian world at the time.


Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority


Israel archeologists made yet another significant finding in Jerusalem, the discovery of a 1,500 year-old mosaic floor commemorating the erection of a church in Jerusalem.

The discovery was made near the Damascus Gate in Old City Jerusalem, the mosaic floor found a meter underground. The inscription mentions the well-known priest “Constantine” who erected a church, as well as Emperor Flavius Justinian and reads “The most pious Roman emperor Flavius Justinian and the most God-loving priest and abbot, Constantine, erected the building in which (this mosaic) sat during the 14th indiction.”

Justinian established the Nea Church in Jerusalem in 543 AD. The archeologists believe the inscription in the mosaic dates from around 550 AD.

Archeologists believe given the location that it was a floor of a hostel used to house pilgrims to Jerusalem.

Director of the archeological team from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, David Gellman, described the astonishment of the finding in such good condition, stating, “Its level of preservation is truly amazing considering that there was a lot of ground work and infrastructure nearby. The uniqueness of this description is it mentioned Justinian the Emperor of the Byzantine Era, almost 1,500 years ago, the most powerful man of his era- it shows us that he took personal interest in pilgrimage in Jerusalem. It shows us how important Jerusalem was to the entire Christian world at the time.”

He described that the discovery also allowed archeologists to understand that the “head of the most important church inside Jerusalem had jurisdiction over building hotels and hostels outside the walls also, for the use of pilgrims.”