Courtesy Israel Museum/Restoration Laboratories

Protected by sand, this mosaic of King David and his lyre lay buried in Gaza, on the Mediterranean coast, for nearly 1,500 years. Dunes hid the mosaic until Egyptian archaeologists uncovered it in 1965. When Israeli archaeologists arrived at the site two years later, David’s face, one of his hands and several other patches had been destroyed, as shown here.

Israeli archaeologists carefully transported the mosaic to Jerusalem. Conservators at the Israel Museum recently restored the mosaic based on the sketchy information available from old black-and-white photos and damaged remains. Once again the Biblical king, depicted here as a Byzantine monarch complete with halo and with the power of Orpheus, uses his music to charm both the wild animals and the museum-goers who flock to see the restored mosaic. (See cover.)