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The ancient footprints of the artisans who built a 1,700-year-old mosaic floor in the city of Lod was discovered recently by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The mosaic floor is one of the biggest and most remarkable mosaics to be discovered in Israel. The mosaic, spanning 180 square meters, is composed of colorful and detailed depictions of animals, plants and boats.

The impressive mosaic, discovered in 1996, is believed to have decorated the home of a wealthy man during the Roman period.

Following the discovery of the mosaic, it was covered back up due to lack of the resources required to preserve and display it. It was recently uncovered again, with the aim of opening the site to the public, after the Antiquities Authority and the Lod municipality were able to raise the funds required for the endeavor.

While working on detaching the mosaic from the ground, Antiquities Authority workers discovered the footprints and sandal prints on the plaster bedding below. Experts believe the prints belong to the builders of the mosaic, and further speculate that they had used their feet to pack the plaster.

Sandal prints in sizes 34, 37, 42 and 44 were discovered.

"We were very excited," said Jacques Neguer, head of the IAA Art Conservation Branch. "It is fascinating to find 1,700-year-old personal evidence of people who, just like us, worked on this very mosaic. You can really feel the generational continuity."