Byzantine Monastery Uncovered in Negev Desert

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Israeli archaeologists unveiled a recent discovery that has them marveling.

A team of Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists discovered a Byzantine-era monastery during a preconstruction excavation for an interchange on Highway 31 in the Negev Desert.

Israeli law requires a "salvage excavation" before any type of construction, from houses to highways.

The monastery's exquisitely detailed mosaic floors provide a glimpse of what life was like during that period.

Excavation director Daniel Varga called the 1,400-year-old find "spectacular."

"It seems that this monastery, located near the Byzantine settlement of Horbat Hur, is one monastery in a series of monasteries situated alongside a road that linked Transjordan with the Be'er Sheva Valley," Varga said.

He noted that mosaics are unusual in this area. The detailed designs include inscriptions in Greek and Syriac.

Archaeologists have also found pottery, coins, and glass artifacts at the excavation site.

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