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Keywords:

  • Lod;
  • mosaic;
  • maritime;
  • Roman;
  • merchant ship;
  • reconstruction

A rescue excavation in Lod, Israel, in 1996 on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (directed by M. Avissar) led to the discovery of a Roman mosaic floor. In the southern panel of the main carpet there is an eye-catching maritime scene, with two merchant ships surrounded by fish, a dolphin and some shells. One of the ships was damaged by a cesspit dug in the Ottoman period. The description of what is left of the damaged ship provides clues which allow a reconstruction of the original appearance of the ship. The proposed reconstruction of the damaged ship, based on the assumption that the two merchantmen in this scene are of a similar type, postulates that the ship was in great danger and experienced a ‘marine trauma’, which the villa owner chose to commemorate in a mosaic floor.