French Army Capt. Ernest de Prudhomme merely wanted his back yard dug up for a garden. But on February 17, 1883, his plan to plant vegetables was foiled when soldiers under his command unwittingly unearthed the first archaeological ruins of a Roman-era synagogue on the grounds of his villa in Hammam Lif, Tunisia the ancient Punic city of Naro, later called Aquae Persianae by the Romans. Prudhomme suddenly found himself with a crop of stunning mosaic panels whose primary subjects were the Creation and Paradise. The works had been part of a sanctuary floor dating from the Third to Sixth centuries A.D. The treasure trove is now on display at the Lowe. The exhibit also features nearly 40 related artifacts, including period textiles, marble statues, gold jewelry, and bronze ritual objects, offering further context for the mosaic panels.
Jan. 7-24, 2010