In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 26, preparations were underway for the arrival of very precious cargo from Israel. Art handlers, a crane operating crew, and Penn Museum staff gathered in the cold to receive several boxes, each containing a segment of the Lod Mosaic.
This 1,700-year-old extraordinarily well-preserved Roman mosaic, discovered in Lod, Israel during highway construction in 1996 and excavated in 2009, has been traveling around the United States (Penn Museum is the final U.S. destination, before it travels to the Louvre in Paris and begins a European tour). The spectacular mosaic is the focus of the Museum's upcoming exhibition, Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel.
Two box trucks arrived and backed down a closed-off block of South Street to the awaiting group. Truck doors swung open, people moved into position, and in a matter of minutes the first box was fork-lifted from the truck bed, trussed, and hoisted hundreds of feet into the air by an all-terrain crane. Six boxes later, the mosaic was safely in place in the Museum's 3rd floor gallery. Conservators from Israel worked the next few days meticulously joining the mosaic segments seamlessly together. Text, video and additional artifacts are being installed to complete the exhibition and help tell the story of this remarkable ancient artifact. Unearthing a Masterpiece opens to the public with a ribbon cutting and celebration on Sunday, February 10 at 1:00 pm.
The Lod Mosaic is on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Center. Penn Museum is deeply grateful to the Women's Committee for lead sponsorship of Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel, as well as for generous underwriting of the restoration of the Upper Kamin Entrance doors. Additional support is provided by the Julian A. and Lois G. Brodsky Foundation.
Caption: Art handlers, operating crew, and Museum staff were in place. A main street block was closed for the arrival and move of the Lod Mosaic into the Penn Museum. Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel opens to the public on Sunday, February 10 at 1 pm. Photos: Penn Museum.