Archaeologists from the Israel Land Authority have discovered a 6th century Byzantine basilica, featuring "magnificent mosaic" floors, at Moshav Aluma, near Pelugot Junction, in Israel. (photo)
Excavations also unearthed a pottery workshop for the production of jars as well as amphorae, cooking pots, glass vessels, bowls and different kinds of oil lamps.
Dr. Daniel Varga, director of excavations, said, "An impressive basilica building was discovered at the site, 22 meters long and 12 meters wide. The building consists of a central hall with two side aisles divided by marble pillars. At the front of the building is a wide open courtyard (atrium) paved with a white mosaic floor, and with a cistern. Leading off the courtyard is a rectangular transverse hall (narthex) with a fine mosaic floor decorated with colored geometric designs; at its center, opposite the entrance to the main hall, is a twelve-row dedicatory inscription in Greek containing the names Mary and Jesus, and the name of the person who funded the mosaic's construction."