The most outer borders are a mix of graphic patchwork and circle ornaments adorned with squares inside them. This must have been the villa of a rich and important man, of a man with an eye and a liking for beauty and elegance!
Let's see what the plate tells us:
The frame of the mosaic pavement of the central courtyard portrays animals and fruit trees, surrounding 120 medallions, arranged in 12 parallel rows, each portrays a regular sequence of 10 diverse birds. In each row the sequence begins with the second image (from the north) from the row below. In this way every diagonal in the pattern from south-east to north-west is decorated with the same bird image."
"Fragments of mosaic floors that were found over the intact floors of the ground level floor indicate a two story building. The mansion was burned down, apparently during the Arab conquest (640 CE). The wooden girders that held-up the ceiling of the ground floor collapsed in the fire, and the upper level flooring fell down on those of the lower level."
"Water for the residents was stored in a cistern under the central yard, where rainwater from the roofs and patios was collected. In the north-west of the compound a water pool was discovered that received its water from a well (the place is higher than the Caesarea aqueduct and needed independent water supply). To date no inscription has been found to identify its original owners. It is named the 'Birds Mosaic Mansion' after the finding that characterizes it."
This must have been a wonderful place to live in, within short reach of the city and the harbor, and with a marvelous view on the sea! We enjoyed our visit there immensely! Thank you Aiva for the hint!
Photographs by Uri Eshkar.
Look at the post about the mosaic exhibition at the Mormon Center in Jerusalem and you can see where one of the artists got his inspiration from.