Tiberias Dig Unearths Very Rare Marble Floor

A marble floor dating from the first century CE was unearthed during this season's excavations of ancient Tiberias.

According to archaeologist Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld, director of the three-week dig that ended yesterday, the floor is apparently a remnant of a pavement in the palace of Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, who ruled the Galilee from 4 BCE to 38 CE.

"Marble from the first century CE was very rare in this area and is found only in royal palaces. Who knows, perhaps Salome danced for the king on this very floor," Hirschfeld said, referring to the New Testament story of the daughter of Herodias, Antipas' wife, who demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter in exchange for the dance.

The dig was cosponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority, and was funded by the Tiberias municipality and Brown University, Rhode Island. It revealed that in the fourth century a basilica was constructed on top of the palace. It also uncovered a street from the Roman-Byzantine period, mosaics, and coins bearing the image of Jesus.