An archaeologist works on part of a 1,500-year-old mosaic floor bearing the names of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, on August 23, 2017, after they unearth a portion of ancient mosaic near the city's Damascus Gate. The Greek declaration, dated at 550 or 551 AD, commemorates the founding by the Orthodox abbot Constantine of a building thought to be a hostel for pilgrims, near the city's Damascus Gate. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

An extremely rare ancient early Christian Greek inscription has been discovered about a kilometer north of Jerusalem’s Old City. The once-in-a-lifetime dream archaeological find was discovered by chance during infrastructure work for a phone cable.
The intact 1,500-year-old mosaic was uncovered in the flooring of what is thought to have been a pilgrim hostel during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Israel Antiquities Authority director of excavation David Gellman was supervising the salvage dig ahead of the placement of Partner communications cable infrastructure outside American Consulate buildings in East Jerusalem.
Gellman called the find “extremely exciting,” saying that “it’s not every day that one finds an inscription — a ‘direct letter’ from someone — from 1,500 years ago.”
The black-lettered mosaic inscription was discovered on a white tile floor during the last day of salvage work.
“The fact that the inscription survived is an archaeological miracle,” said Gellman.
Gellman, …
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