Courtesy Ehud Netzer

Functional symbolism. Hewn in the form of a cross, out of a single stone shaped like a column drum, this baptismal font stood in the center of the baptistery in the central church at Herodium (Herod’s palace nine miles south of Jerusalem). It measures 3.6 feet wide and nearly 3 feet high. The baptistery, the place where baptisms were performed, usually occupied a small auxiliary room near the apse in Byzantine basilica churches.