Kursi Beach ExcavationKursi Beach Excavation

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In the first season we found a few mosaics or tesserae near the Inscription, in the second we began to uncover a single piece, but in this, the third season we have found exquisite mosaic ‘carpets’ in five different squares of Area B.

Photographs courtesy of Professor Michal Artzy, Dr Haim Cohen and Jennifer Munro

Solomon's Knot at Kursi Beach Excavation

Solomon's Knot

This very interesting motif is repeated a few times throughout the mosaic. It’s known as Solomon’s Knot.

Solomons Knot appears on tombstones and mausoleums in Jewish graveyards and catacombs in many nations. In this context, Solomons Knot is currently interpreted to symbolize eternity.

In Latin, this configuration was sometimes known as sigillum Salomonis, meaning literallyseal of Solomon“. It was associated with the Biblical monarch Solomon because of his reputation for wisdom and knowledge (and in some legends, his occult powers). This phrase is usually rendered into English asSolomons knot“, sinceseal of Solomonhas other conflicting meanings (often referring to either a Star of David or pentagram). In the study of ancient mosaics, the Solomons knot is often known as aguilloche knotorduplex knot“, while a Solomons knot in the center of a decorative configuration of four curving arcs is known as apeltaswastika” (where pelta is Latin forshield“).

The Solomon’s Knot design is also found very close to Kursi Beach, at the Byzantine Monastery at Kursi National Park.

The device seems to have been adopted by the three main monotheistic religions, as well as by many other cultures around the world.

Across the Middle East, historical Islamic sites show Solomons knot as part of Muslim tradition. It appears over the doorway of an early twentieth century CE mosque/madrasa in Cairo. Two versions of Solomons knot are included in the recently excavated Yattir Mosaic in Jordan. To the east, it is woven into an antique Central Asian prayer rug. To the west, Solomons knot appeared in Moorish Spain.  The British Museum, London, England has a fourteenth century CE Egyptian Quran with a Solomons Knot as its frontispiece.

The same design of Solomon's Knot at the Byzantine Monastery at Kursi National park
Beautiful pomegranate mosaic from Kursi Beach Excavation

The significance of the pomegranate in Judaism is exemplified by its appearance on ancient coins of Judea, one of only a few images that appear as a holy symbol. The pomegranate fruit is a symbol of fertility in the Bible. Each fruit is said to contain 613 seeds just as there are 613 good deeds, mitzvot, in the Bible. Pomegranates are eaten on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, to wish for good deeds and a year as plentiful with goodness as the seeds of the pomegranate.

Christians adopted the symbol and again, it can be seen in the mosaic at the Byzantine Monastery at Kursi National Park.

Pomegranates on first century Jewish coins
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1 Comment

  • Ethel Kramer
    11:43 PM - 27 November, 2017

    Wow! I think we saw the beginning of these mosaics last year at the second year of the excavation. It’s amazing!

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The Mosaic Season