Courtesy Yattir excavation

Separating heaven and earth, the diamond-shaped lattice in the mosaic floor near the apse may represent a chancel screen. In early churches the chancel screens divided the apse, where the altar stood, from the main hall, where the congregation worshiped. Chancel screens are also found in ancient synagogues, such as one unearthed at a fifth- to sixth-century synagogue at Hammath Tiberias, near the Sea of Galilee (see photograph). The diamond lattice motif repeats often in the floor at Yattir; the author suggests that the lattice near the entrance may represent a fisherman’s net that symbolically gathers in the faithful as they enter the church.