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The Lod Mosaic: A Lost World of Ancient Landscapes and Extinct Species
Speaker: Michael Maunder, PhD, Associate Dean, Research Engagement, FIU, Interim Director, The Kampong

The spectacular Lod mosaic shows a number of animal species that were highly valued as food, as game, and as animals for the Roman circus. The representation of exotic species such as oryx, tiger and African elephant allows us to explore a lost world when lions lived in the Middle East and hippos wallowed in the swamps of the Levant. A lost world whose abundance and diversity is difficult for us to imagine as we look at today's shredded landscapes of North Africa and the Middle East today. We will explore the natural history of the ancient Middle East and look at the Roman's insatiable appetite for the exotic.

This lecture series has been made possible by the generosity of Isaac Gilinski.


Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel

In 1996, workmen widening the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv road in Lod (formerly Lydda), Israel, made a startling discovery: signs of a Roman mosaic pavement were found about three feet below the modern ground surface. A rescue excavation was conducted immediately by the Israel Antiquities Authority, revealing a mosaic floor that measures approximately 50 feet long by 27 feet wide. This large and extraordinarily detailed mosaic floor has only recently been carefully removed from its site and conserved. Found in a large villa believed to belong to a wealthy Roman, the excellently preserved mosaic floor dates to about AD 300.

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