Courtesy Littal Yadin

Vestigial splendor from the days of King Herod, this mosaic floor delighted excavators when they uncovered it in the western palace. The mosaic incorporates a popular geometric design in its outer squares; pomegranates, olive branches, and fig and vine leaves in its inner squares; and a rosette in the central square. The damage to the mosaic gives us a peek at the artist’s craft, because it reveals a series of straight lines used to guide the artist’s work, incised at right and at lower left into the plaster beneath the mosaic.