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Royal Purple Industry in Lod during the Late Roman Period as Reflected in the Lod Mosaic

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Authors:
Amir Gorzalczany Israel Antiquities Authority

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Baruch Rosen Israel Antiquities Authority

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Naama Sukenik Israel Antiquities Authority

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Abstract

A mosaic discovered in luxurious Roman domus in Lod (Lydda, Diospolis) in Israel, depicted among other maritime creatures Royal Purple yielding mollusks and wicker traps used to catch them. Historical sources indicating that during Late Antiquity residents of Lod dealt in dyeing and exporting textiles (also Royal Purple) were reexamined. Clearly many city inhabitants were involved with textiles, and some of them had their hands permanently dyed. The mosaic hints that the mollusks contributed to their wealth. The problem of inland dyeing with Royal Purple was discussed, as well as the continuation of this industry in the area into the Islamic period.

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