Lifestyle & CultureMosaic Art

Palestinian farmer makes an astounding mosaic discovery while planting olive trees

(3 min read) Some accidents are as fortunate as they get. Just ask Salman al-Nabahin, a Palestinian farmer who accidentally found one of the most glorious mosaic discoveries in recent history.

Palestinian farmer Salman al-Nabahin uncovers a large-scale mosaic artwork. Mosaic Art, Mosaic Discovery, Mosaic Artwork
Palestinian farmer Salman al-Nabahin uncovers a large-scale mosaic artwork on his olive farm in Gaza. Image source: Link.

Nabahin and his young son were puzzled as to why a considerable number of olive trees in their otherwise healthy and fertile orchard were struggling to grow. Adamant on finding the root of the problem, they started digging further under the said trees. It wasn’t long before Nabahin’s son hit the hard surface with his mattock. After some careful digging, they’ve partially unearthed one of the most well-preserved, ornate Byzantine mosaics to date.

Vibrant artwork consists of seventeen iconographies of various birds and animals. Image source: Link.

Some other farmers would probably get agitated because his trees can’t take root on the said piece of land, but Nabahin was familiar with his country’s cultural heritage, so he knew better. Once he got home he started browsing the internet for some possible clues and he quickly discovered that the intricate mosaic artwork probably belongs to the Byzantine era.

Salman al-Nabahin carefully cleans the mosaic artwork. Mosaic_Art-Mosaic_Discovery-Mosaic_Artwork
Salman al-Nabahin carefully cleans the mosaic artwork he uncovered in Gaza. Image source: Link.

“I searched on the internet…We learned that it was a mosaic belonging to the Byzantine era”, said Nabahin, adding,” I see it as a treasure, dearer than a treasure. It isn’t personal, it belongs to every Palestinian.”

One of the biggest mosaics finds in recent history. Mosaic_Art-Mosaic_Discovery-Mosaic_Artwork
One of the biggest mosaics finds in recent history. Image Source: Link.

The wonderful ornate mosaic floor artwork depicts various birds and other animals frozen in motion. The sheer complexity of the geometry and precision with which this amazing mosaic floor was created, as well as the exceptional quality of the artwork itself, makes this mosaic find one of the most valuable mosaic discoveries in recent times.

amazingly realistic iconographies up close. Mosaic Mosaic_Art-Mosaic_Discovery-Mosaic_Artwork
Some of the amazingly realistic iconographies up close. Image source: Link.

The Byzantine Empire, or the Eastern Roman Empire, was formed after the final collapse of the Roman Empire, in 395 CE. It existed as a continuation of the Roman empire in the eastern provinces, including Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Southern Italy, Israel, and Palestine. The Byzantine Empire was so well solidified and trained that it survived the devastating fall of the Western Roman Empire, and it continued thriving for another thousand years until the Ottoman empire took over Constantinople in 1453.

Magnificent Byzantine Dome in Hagia Sophia. Mosaic_Art-Mosaic_Discovery-Mosaic_Artwork
Magnificent Byzantine Dome in Hagia Sophia. Image source: Link.

The Byzantine era is known for its glorious religious art. From its astounding architectural efforts to mosaics, sculptures, and frescoes, this was truly the golden era when it comes to celebrating religion. Byzantine art was so prestigious that it became one of the formative influences on the magnificent Italian Renaissance.

Mosaic art of Jesus Christ. Mosaic_Art-Mosaic_Discovery-Mosaic_Artwork
Mosaic art of Jesus Christ, done with the usage of famous Byzantine golden background. Image source: Link.

Illustrious marble columns, marvelous, richly decorated domes, and sumptuous decoration were essential parts of Byzantine artistic achievements. From alabaster sheets and copious ornamentation to the extensive use of gorgeous mosaics with golden backgrounds, the Byzantine era was one of the most artistically innovative and rich periods in human history.

Empress Theodora Mosaic. Mosaic_Art-Mosaic_Discovery-Mosaic_Artwork
Empress Theodora is one of the most beautiful, amazingly well-preserved Byzantine mosaics. Image source: Link.

Keeping all of that in mind, it is no wonder that Gaza is full of archeological sites and amazing relics. However, due to the lack of any serious funding in the area, much of the preservation of these great cultural finds have come from various international groups.

“The archeological discovery is still in its early stages and we await to know more of the secrets and civilization values”, said the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in one of the recent statements,” National research teams are working in partnership with international experts and scientists from the French Archaeology School.”

Mosaic excavation. Mosaic_Art-Mosaic_Discovery-Mosaic_Artwork
The ongoing excavation process in Gaza. Image source: Link.

Salman al-Nabahin’s discovery is just one of the many archeological gems that waited to be found in this rich Palestinian area. Who knows how many more are patiently biding their time under the loamy soil of Gaza.

A farmer makes an astounding mosaic discovery while planting olive trees.

A farmer makes an astounding mosaic discovery while planting olive trees.

A farmer makes an astounding mosaic discovery while planting olive trees.




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M. Belosh

M. Belosh

Passionate art enthusiast; avid reader (you can find me on Goodreads under the same name); movie connoisseur; intolerable before my morning coffee.


  1. Beth
    October 28, 2022 at 11:55 am

    That is so amazing! No one ever thinks they’ll find something like this in practically their own backyard.

  2. Samantha Donnelly
    October 31, 2022 at 11:42 am

    What a find, and looks like it is in very good condition, I would love to mke a find like that

  3. Amber Alton
    October 31, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Wow! This is so cool. I can only imagine the farmer’s surprise and excitement. History is everywhere!

  4. Paula Richie
    October 31, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    That is an awesome discovery that the farmer made on his own property!

  5. Aarika
    October 31, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    This is truly remarkable! Wow! What an incredible archaeological discovery. Mosaics are beautiful and an important part of history. I really enjoyed reading this article.

  6. rachel
    October 31, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    What an INCREDIBLE archaeological find!

  7. Rhian Westbury
    November 1, 2022 at 7:26 am

    Wow imagine being the one who found those under their trees. I don’t know what I’d do if I found mosaics in my garden x

  8. Melissa Csuhing
    November 1, 2022 at 8:12 am

    That is so cool, and I absolutely love history and finding something like this would be crazy cool. What a cool discovery!

  9. Melissa Dixon
    November 1, 2022 at 10:36 am

    This is so gorgeous! I love the idea of having mosaic in my yard, even better if I could discover it there!

  10. Tammy
    November 1, 2022 at 11:55 am

    My goodness how incredible and the condition in which he found it is amazing too! It is so beautiful!

  11. Talya Stone
    November 1, 2022 at 12:13 pm

    Wow this has to be a dream – making a discovery like this. It truly must be magical to unearth art and history in this way.

  12. Laura
    November 2, 2022 at 5:52 am

    That is SO amazing!!! What an incredible find!

  13. Jupiter
    November 2, 2022 at 6:18 am

    Wow it is so amazing when they find entire floors that are so intact! Mosaics do last so long, which is great to see as a callback to history.

  14. Lisa
    November 2, 2022 at 6:23 am

    How beautiful! I love anything mosaic and this find would be great to see in person one day.

  15. Kira Kira
    November 2, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Oh wow that is honestly incredible. It’s amazing some of the things that get found. It’s beautiful

  16. Leanne
    November 2, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Wow, what a discovery!! And it looks absolutely stunning and such a piece of artwork indeed

  17. Natasha mairs
    November 2, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Wow what a find! Love the design too, especially the rabbits.

  18. Paula R.
    November 2, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    It is amazing and what a wonderful surprise for the farmer who went in just to plant some olive trees.

  19. Rosey
    November 3, 2022 at 5:57 am

    Well that would be a wonderful surprise. It would thwart the planting plan though. No way you’d want to cover that back up.

  20. Rosey
    November 3, 2022 at 5:59 am

    Also, I love his attitude about it. It really is a gift for everyone.

  21. brianne
    November 3, 2022 at 7:31 am

    What a great discovery indeed! You can never imagine what is in someone`s backyard. It can be as incredible as these mosaic arts.

  22. Lyosha
    November 3, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    oh my God! it really is astonishing! I didn’t know about that, it didn’t come near me on the news. but it’s just wow! the level of preservance is fantastic, such a rare lucky find. I find the mosaic itself very beautiful as well, which contributs to my fascination even more

  23. Melissa Cushing
    November 4, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    This is so cool… I have always wished I had done archeology 😉 So interesting and I love history!

  24. Paula Richie
    November 4, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    It is great reading how someone stumbled upon something valuable. It has to be an incredible feeling.

  25. Mak
    November 4, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    This mosaic looks stupendous! I can’t wait to learn more about it.

  26. Jasmine Martin
    November 4, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    This is absolutely amazing. It’s like finding a hidden gem in real life. I know I would have been shocked, but also super excited to find something so gorgeous.

  27. Jasmine Martin
    November 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

    I know I would be amazed if I was that farmer and I made a discovery like this. It’s always great when you find something especially something of this magnitude.

  28. Kelly
    November 9, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    Wow how interesting is this. No one would ever think they will find something like this.

  29. Yaya
    November 17, 2022 at 7:51 am

    That’s incredible! What a discovery to make. Good to see that it wasn’t damaged and is in such good condition.

  30. Nayna Kanabar
    November 20, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    What an amazing find, the mosaic is beautiful and so intricate. Its a gem of a find.

  31. Star Traci
    November 22, 2022 at 10:17 am

    Wow! what an amazing discovery – almost a dream come true really.