Emily Catherine Egan from the University of Cincinnati researched one such floor in the Throne Room at the Palace of Nestor, one of the best-preserved palaces of the Mycenaean civilization.
    
She found evidence that the floor's painted designs, dating back to between 1300-1200 BC, were meant to replicate a physical hybrid of cloth and stone - serving not only to impress but also to instruct the ancient viewer.
    
"Mycenaean palatial floor paintings are typically believed to represent a single surface treatment - most often cut stone or pieced carpets," Egan said.
    
"At Pylos, however, the range of represented patterns suggests that the floor in the great hall of the palace was deliberately designed to represent both of these materials simultaneously, creating a new, clever way to impress visitors while simultaneously instructing them on where to look and how to move within the space," she said.
    
Egan conducted research on the painted floor at the Palace of Nestor from 2012-13. She examined firsthand sections of the floor, as well as published and unpublished excavation documents and drawings.
    
Egan noted that some of the intricate motifs of the Throne Room floor recalled the mottled and veined patterns of painted stone masonry, while other elements mimicked patterns on depictions of textiles in wall paintings both from Crete and the Greek mainland.
    
She contended that the hybrid combination of these materials on the Throne Room floor (also evident in other paintings in the palace) was specifically designed to "supersede reality."
    
"It depicted something that could not exist in the real world, a floor made of both carpet and stone. As such, the painting would have communicated the immense and potentially supernatural power of the reigning monarch, who seemingly had the ability to manipulate and transform his physical environment," she said.

Egan also argued that the hybrid quality of the floor was intended to draw attention to one of its other notable features - a dramatic diagonal in the grid design, apparent upon standing at the doorway of the room.
    
Past studies had posited that this introduction of a strong diagonal into the floor's otherwise regular grid pattern had been an uncorrected mistake.
    
However, Egan's firsthand examination of parts of the floor found evidence that small mistakes on individual painted tiles had been corrected by the ancient artists.
    
Egan's study at the Palace of Nestor has uncovered the first evidence for the use of a drafting technique called an artist's grid to paint a floor.