Photo by Gabi Laron

NICE “WORK” IF YOU CAN GET IT. Opus vermiculatum is a rare mosaic style in Israel—the Dor mosaic is one of only two known—but it was well known throughout the Hellenistic world. The name comes from the Latin for “wormy work.” Whereas other mosaic styles contain backgrounds of tesserae set in straight rows, in opus vermiculatum the tesserae can curve to follow the shape of the mosaic figures, as seen around the hat in this detail above. This technique, which is considered one of the most difficult mosaic styles, creates an outline effect that highlights the contours of the design.