The Bet Alpha Zodiac

Bet Alpha is a synagogue with a beautiful mosaic floor built in the 6th century (500-599 CE). In the 1920's, members of a local community were digging an irrigation system and found the floor. It was excavated until the mid-1960s and was soon after turned into a national park.

In the middle of the floor is a zodiac (you can see a better picture of it here). Have you ever seen a zodiac before? You can see another picture of one here that shows a constellation zodiac. Zodiacs show different times during the year and are based on how Earth moves around the sun. The zodiac at Bet Alpha represents the different seasons of agriculture (growing crops) during the year.

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Junior Archaeologist Assignment: 

 Next, take colored pieces of construction paper and cut them into tiny squares. Can you make a picture on a white piece of paper using these squares like the mosaic you see above? See some examples here:




Question of the day:

When you have seen a zodiac before? Have you seen it in places like a Chinese restaurant or when people talk about their horoscope? Are all of the zodiacs are the same or different? Why do you think they put the zodiac on the floor instead of the wall, and why did they just not paint it?