On the final few days of last season’s dig at Sepphoris in the Galilee, the fortunate volunteers who stayed to the end exposed a 23- by 40-foot area of a huge mosaic floor. The floor dates to the third century A.D., according to the archaeologists.

Set in the white ground of the mosaic floor at one end—like a beautiful rug—is a 20- by 20-foot area of colored mosaic. The colored area consists of a rectangle flanked along part of its length on two sides by panels illustrating processions. The processional on one side (bottom right foreground of the picture below) is quite intact, depicting people carrying agricultural produce. The large rectangular section of the mosaic includes three center panels surrounded by 12 rectangles, probably representing scenes from the life of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry. Each of the separate scenes is labeled with a Greek inscription. The scenes include Dionysus engaged in a drinking competition with Hercules, the marriage of the god, and a number of scenes showing Dionysus with Pan, god of music and shepherds.

A border of medallions formed by trailing acanthus leaves surrounds the 15 panels. Within most of the medallions appear animals in hunting or fighting scenes.