|The Jordan River Valley on the Madaba Map|
The Madaba Mosaic Map is considered a reliable source of data on Byzantine-era Jerusalem because of the detail with which it is constructed. Known old structures such as the Damascus Gate, the Tower of David, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and others are depicted with enough detail to distinguish them from simple symbolic images. The detail even allows scholars to date the map: Jerusalem shows the Nea Church, which was built and in use by 542, but does not show any changes or structures built after 570. In fact, the Nea Church was only able to be discovered by archaeologists when they used the Madaba Mosaic as their cue for where to dig! Furthermore, the exact location of the ancient Jewish city of Askalon/Ashkelon was uncertain until the Madaba Mosaic showed where it was on the coast.
|The map as seen now in the Church of St. George|