Archaeologists in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority believe the find was a part of a hostelry for pilgrims moving in a time when Christianity spread throughout the Eastern Roman Empire to Jerusalem.
© Ronen Zvulun
In accordance with inscriptions expert Leah Di Segni of this Hebrew University, the early Greek composing reads: “The many pious Roman emperor Flavius Justinian and also the many God-loving priest and abbot, Constantine, erected the building in which [that mosaic] sat during the 14th indiction.”
Emperor Flavius Justinian, although finishing the conversion of the pagan Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire at 543 AD, built a complex and vast church on Mount Zion. The Website was called the New Church of the Theotokos, or, the Nea Church.
Indiction is an ancient method. The inscription is supposed to date back as far.
© Ronen Zvulun
“This inscription commemorates the founding of the construction by Constantine, the priest. The inscription names that the emperor Flavius Justinian. It seems that the construction was utilized as a hostel for pilgrims,” said Di Segni.
David Gellman, the manager of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority described the find nearby Damascus Gate as “a archaeological miracle.”
“Each archaeologist dreams of finding an inscription in their excavations, especially one so well preserved and almost entirely undamaged,” he explained.
“From the first period, together with the development of Christianity, churches, monasteries and hostels for pilgrims were all constructed from the area north of this gate, and the area became among the most significant and active areas of the city,” he added.
The mosaic was uncovered during functions to put in communications wires in the Old City of Jerusalem.
A mosaic uncovered in the Old City of Jerusalem may once have decorated the floor of an hostel.