Gabi Laron/Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University

Two Greek gods. Pan (the god of forests, flocks and shepherds—depicted here with goat horns), and a mask of a long-haired Dionysus (the god of fertility, wine and drama—right), adorn a six-sided limestone altar found inside Beth-Shean’s Roman basilica. The basilica stood at the base of the tell, next to the nymphaeum. (The excavators are not sure, however, that the basilica was this altar’s original location.)

Below the mask of Dionysus is an inscription set within a tabula ansata frame—a rectangle with an inward-pointing triangle on either side. The inscription begins with the formula “In good fortune” and states that Seleucos, son of Ariston, dedicated the altar “as a thanks offering to the god, the lord Dionysus, the founder [of the city].” The date on the inscription corresponds to 12 A.D.