Courtesy Nahman Avigad

Roman relief showing serving and dining tables. The table in this relief stands against the wall, a position that explains why tabletops found in the Jerusalem excavations were decorated only on three sides. On either side of the stylized lion leg of the table in the scene at right are large pitchers, probably refill sizes for the smaller pitchers on top of the table. As one servant reaches for a pitcher, another pours a beverage into a drinking vessel he has just taken from the table.

Scenes like this, showing one- and three-legged tables, how they were used and the arrangement of beverage vessels around them, have enabled Israeli archaeologists to reconstruct similar tables and vessels from fragments salvaged from the fiery debris of Jerusalem’s destruction.