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Mosaic Artist, Historian, Teacher Lillian Sizemore Explores The Lod Mosaic In Video: Lod 2.0 Above and Below

On 06, Mar 2012 | 19 Comments | In Ancient, Ideas | By Nancie



Here at MAN we’ve been covering The Lod Mosaic, the “Rock Star of Roman pavements”,  since 2009 when the Israeli Antiquities Authority began excavating the 1700 year-old pavement from it’s original site in Lod.  Since then, the mosaic has captivated thousand of people while on its tour of US museums (starting with The Met) and a multi-million dollar museum is being built to house the mosaic when it returns to Israel.  Scholars have written, teachers have lectured, school children have copied and lovers of art and antiquities have swooned over The Lod.  All this for what is, basically, a floor covering?

What is it about ancient mosaic pavements that we find so compelling?  What is it about their intricate designs and geometric patterns that beguiles us so much?

We are proud to premiere the video “Lod 2.0 Above and Below” by mosaic artist, scholar and MAN’s own Miss Marble, Lillian Sizemore, who has spent years researching The Lod and, in the process, has come up with some fascinating and provocative answers to those questions.  In the video, Sizemore explains the mosaic’s symbolism and construction and introduces her revolutionary research that the flat pavement was imagined as a three-dimensional sphere. She decodes the underlying mysteries of this spectacular  pavement and explains that ancient Greeks and Romans used the geometric shapes they saw in nature as a foundation for learning. Sizemore points out “Geometry served as a legitimate path of enlightenment, both scientific and spiritual. Ancient mosaic pavements embody vast stores of cultural knowledge, spiritual meaning, and sophisticated geometry, and this is why we resonate with them.”

So get comfortable and prepare to be inspired!

Recommended View: FULL SCREEN + SOUND ON

Run time: 19:27

This video is a short version of Ms. Sizemore’s complete lecture on The Lod Mosaic.  For more information and to contact her for further information, please visit her blog at

The Lod Mosaic is currently being shown at the Field Museum in Chicago through April 23, 2012 and then will move on to Columbus Ohio and Philadelphia, PA.  To learn more about the mosaic and future exhibition schedules, visit it’s website 

To read more about The Lod and other ancient mosaics on MAN, click here

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  1. Craig crovatto

    Hello Mrs. Sizemore, i am writing to you looking for any information about a relative famous for mosaic works in Italy and America. If you could contact via. Email or phone i will give you the info i have. 917-468-4987.

    Greatly appreciated.

  2. Lillian Sizemore

    Nancie, Thank you for posting this content again. I hope people will comment anew. The Lod mosaic will be exhibiting in Philadelphia at the Penn Museum, opening Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1PM. the exhibition, titled “Unearthing a Masterpiece: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel” is slated to run until mid-May 2013. This will be the final U.S. venue.
    thanks! Lillian

  3. Betty Cleffman Hager

    I so enjoyed this video and appreciate that MAN includes such meaningful content.

    • Nancie

      Thank you so much for the comment, Betty. Lillian Sizemore’s work never fails to amaze and fascinate.

    • Lillian Sizemore

      thank you for watching Betty! Lillian

  4. Dear Lillian,
    I really enjoyed your video with all its details and information! How marvelous to understand all these stories that are included only in this mosaic, and how I wish to explore and understand more still existing mosaics that are all over this region… Back home per exemple, in Lebanon, so many mosaics all over the country are still there for someone like Lillian to explore.
    By the way, you look great in the picture and your voice is very nice and make you want to listen more.
    Thank you Nancie for supporting this video and all our artists!
    Carole Choucair Oueijan

    • Hi Carole, thanks for your comments…there is some much work to be done with regard to preservation of mosaic in the Middle East! This is the cradle of early civilization and the mosaics have many stories to tell. Do you know of specific excavations in Lebanon? I really appreciate your observations about the voice over and the photo. I wanted to present this unique story as professionally and engagingly as possible, so thanks again! Lillian

      • Lillian,
        Recent excavations? Not sure, but 2 years ago I bought a new book called: “The Roots of Christianity in Lebanon” The author was my teacher Dr. Antoine Khoury Harb. It is a treasure to find all this history about the Christianity in My country and most of the remains to tell these stories were mosaics remains of many churches there. The book is full of mosaic images from different regions in Lebanon… But because of the war, many of them were either stolen or displayced and some are in The National Museum in Beirut. I might go soon to visit and wish to see some of them. Thanks for your reply!
        Carole Choucair Oueijan

  5. What role do you see your geometrical observations as having in the work? Do you see it as a handed-down tradition, whose origins may be obscure or unknown to the makers — rather in the way the iconography of the saints might be for example? Or do you see it as a code readable by the people who lived with it? Or known to the makers, but perhaps not to the public? Do you have any evidence for either interpretation? And is it a reading that other mosaic scholars make? More information, please.

    • Thoughtful questions, thank you emma. More than i can fully cover in the comments section of a blog, but I’ll start by saying that I’ve just agreed to present a paper on the subject and will cover these questions in more depth at the BAMM symposium in October 2012.

      In the meantime: the role of geometry was the foremost basis in the construction of ancient mosaics, whether iconographic or ornamental decoration (that is non-figurative). The architectural footprint was calculated, considered, measured, and the design then configured with size of tesserae and proportion in mind. I argue through my research using a cross-disciplinary methodology, that the master mosaicists were educated in not only the physical construction technologies but also esoteric philosophy and metaphysical meaning of the geometries. I suggest that this was orally transmitted through a ‘brotherhood’ to chosen workers as one became worthy, skillful, loyal, spiritually and technically adept. I think the general assumption in the field of mosaic scholarship that mosaics were made by uneducated slaves merely copying pattern books needs to be revisited. The school of the great mathematician philosopher Pythagoras (580–500 BC), for example, was a closed and secret society. For the first three years a student vowed to silence. Even at c.200 AD dating of the Lod mosaic, this was a time in which nature was revered, and academics, scholars, and certainly artists and craftsmen of this caliber, observed and worked diligently to understand the material world and cosmos around them through geometry, music, and astronomy for example. Life was imbued with deeper significance. Of course this curiosity continues today, as I point out in the video with the discovery of nanotechnology graphene, based on the interlocking hexagons. This information is accessible and understood by a only few elite scientists. So a complicated, highly-developed geometric figuration as in the Lod would not be “understood” by the public, but everyone could find it beautiful. I hope this brief answer helps to begin to address some of your questions?

  6. Fascinating. This informative video is a great new beginning for MAN. Interesting to find footprints have ancient place in mosaic history. I’ve come across them in a more contemporary context — a mosaic pavement for a hotel in the Maldives. I was sent terracotta tiles from Singapore that a small animal had run across before they were fired.

  7. Totally outstanding insight, delightful presentation, and whether an inny or an outy, you are a star. Big respect for the work you have done here.

  8. Lillian has gone so deep in her exploration of this amazing mosaic. And her presentation, while scholarly, is very personable; it’s a wonderful bridge among the past and present, mystical and scientific, earthy and celestial. Thanks so much, Nancie for providing this platform. Lillian – I hope you get to accompany the Lod everywhere it goes to spread the good word!

  9. great launch of the new site MAN! and very cool video Lillian. It took a little time to load but is really interesting, informative and inspiring.

  10. This is an excellent video – informative and eye-opening in its translation of the Lod mosaic into a 3-D form. So glad I got to see it.

  11. great launch! – the magazine looks amazing, and I’m happy to contribute. I hope readers will enjoy the video, and give it time to buffer, since it is HI-DEF -a big file, and worth a few minutes loading time. thanks again!

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