(ISJM) ArtDaily.org reports on the inauguration of the newly restored Byzantine-period synagogue mosaic of Ma'on-Nirim, in the Western Negev, discovered in 1957 near Kibbutz Nir Oz. The mosaic features a seven-branched menorah and and animal images.
After suffering from neglect and damage for many years, the mosaic was removed in 2006 and taken for conservation at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. It has been conserved and returned to its original location which is now open to the general public.
This mosaic originally measured 3.70 x 7.80 m but was damaged when the road to Kibbutz Nir Oz was paved in 1957. The mosaic floor and the remains of the synagogue were discovered during salvage excavations that were undertaken on behalf of the Department of Antiquities in 1957. The mosaic’s state of preservation has deteriorated in recent years as a result of the unsuitable conditions in which the mosaic was kept and a lack of maintenance.
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