2,000-Year-Old Bath Discovered Under Family Home in Jerusalem

The ancient site tells tales from the Roman Siege of Jerusalem.

Home owner Tal Shimshoni Photo: via the Daily Mail
Home owner Tal Shimshoni
Photo: via the Daily Mail
The entrance to the 2,000-year-old bath <br> Photo: via <i> Daily Mail</i>

The entrance to the 2,000-year-old bath
Photo: via Daily Mail

A family living in Jerusalem have discovered a 2,000 year-old bath under the floor of their living room, thought to bear the scars of the Roman siege of the city in 70AD.

The bath, or miqwe, a ritual immersion bath used for washing before holy days and the Sabbath was discovered three years ago when the family was making alterations to their home. On discovering the miqwe they built a trap door over the stairs which leads from their living room to the ancient archaeological site.

“Initially, we were uncertain regarding the importance of the find revealed below our house and we hesitated contacting the Israel Antiquities Authority because of the consequences we believed would be involved in doing so,” said Tal Shimshoni who owns the house. “At the same time, we had a strong feeling that what was situated beneath the floor of our house is a find of historical value and our sense of civic and public duty clinched it for us. We felt that this find deserves to be seen and properly documented.”

An inside view of the ancient  miqwe<br>Photo: via the <i>Daily Mail</i>

An inside view of the ancient miqwe
Photo: via the Daily Mail

Measuring 11 feet (3.5 meters) long, 8 ft (2.4m) wide and 6ft (1.8 m) deep, and plastered into the rock with great care, the bath is also thought to provide evidence of the age of the neighborhood of ‘Ein Kerem.

“‘Ein Kerem is considered a place sacred to Christianity in light of its identification with ‘a city of Judah’–the place where, according to the New Testament, John the Baptist was born and where his pregnant mother Elisabeth met with Mary, mother of Jesus,” said archaeologist for the Jerusalem District at the Israel Antiquities Authority, Amit Re’em.

The ancient bath tells stories of ancient times <br> Photo: via the <i>Daily Mail</i>

The ancient bath tells stories of ancient times
Photo: via the Daily Mail

“Despite these identifications, the archaeological remains in ‘Ein Kerem and the surrounding area, which are related to the time when these events transpired (the Second Temple period), are few and fragmented,” he added. “The discovery of the ritual bath reinforces the hypothesis there was a Jewish settlement from the time of the Second Temple located in the region of what is today ‘Ein Kerem.”

Archaeologists are thrilled with the discovery <br> Photo: via the <i>Daily Mail</i>

Archaeologists are thrilled with the discovery
Photo: via the Daily Mail


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics