Israeli museum housing massive Roman-era mosaic inaugurated
Dedication ceremony held for Shelby White and Leon Levy Mosaic Lod Archeological Center
A dedication ceremony was held on Monday for a new museum in Lod, Israel, built to house a spectacular Roman-era mosaic.
The Shelby White and Leon Levy Mosaic Lod Archeological Center near Ben Gurion Airport in the center of the country is displaying the well-preserved mosaic on a permanent basis after more than a decade touring major cities around the world.
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Groundbreaking on the museum began in 2017 with the goal of opening its doors in 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the opening until Monday's inauguration.
The ceremony was attended by donors Shelby White and representatives of the Leon Levy Foundation, Lod Mayor Leon Revivo and senior representatives of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the Tourism Ministry and the Lod Municipality, and other dignitaries.
"From the moment Leon and I saw this historic mosaic, we knew how important it was for the town of Lod and the world, and what it would do to make Lod a cultural center," White said in an IAA press release.
"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the restoration of the mosaic and the creation of this museum. Being here is a dream come true."
The mosaic dating to the 3rd to 4th centuries CE was first discovered accidentally in 1996 during highway construction in Lod, which sits atop the ancient biblical city of Lydda.
In 2009, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Foundation gave a major gift to the IAA to conserve the mosaic, which served as the floor of a living room villa.
With the new museum, millions of visitors will now be able to experience the colorful mosaic in its hometown.