scarce 2,700-year-old Toilet Found in Jerusalem Palace
Archaeologists recently discovered a scarce 2,700-year-old toilet in a Jerusalem palace, authorities said on Tuesday. The discovery was made in an excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the City of David in Armon Hanatziv, Jerusalem.
The limestone toilet sat above a septic tank carved into the bedrock, the IAA said in a Facebook post. The luxurious facilities was “designed for comfortable sitting and features a hole in its center.”
“A private toilet cubicle was very scarce in antiquity, and to date, only a few have been found, mostly in the City of David,” said Yaakov Billing, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA.
“Only the high could provide toilets. In fact, a thousand years later, the Mishnah and the Talmud discuss the various criteria that define a high person, and Rabbi Yossi’s option to be high is by having a toilet near his table,” Billing continued.
In addition to the toilet, The Jerusalem Post reported that archaeologists found animal bones underneath it, which will provide greater insight into the diets of ancient Judaeans.
They also found evidence of a garden that contained “ornamental and fruit trees and marine plants,” in addition as ornate stones and columns from a window handrail. The carvings, they said, were of the same style seen during the First Temple period.
“Combining these features allows researchers to reconstruct the magnificent First Temple period palace with lush gardens that once existed at the site,” said IAA.
In Jewish tradition, the First Temple—otherwise known as Solomon’s Temple—was built during the reign of King Solomon. The First Temple was completed in 957 B.C. and served as the “long-lasting resting place for the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments,” according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
The New World Encyclopedia described the temple as the “center of Israelite religious life;” however, the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadrezzar II in 586 B.C., and the Ark of the Covenant vanished.
To find relics from this time period, especially something as scarce and luxurious as a private toilet, is exciting for archaeologists.
“It is fascinating to see how something obvious to us today, such as toilets, was a luxury item during the reign of the kings of Judah,” said Eli Eskosido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Jerusalem never ceases to amaze.”
“I am convinced that the glorious past of the city will continue to be revealed to us in the future and will allow us to experience and learn about our past,” Eskosido additional, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Newsweek reached out to IAA for further comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
Archaeologists recently discovered a scarce 2,700-year-old toilet in a Jerusalem palace. During that time, a toilet was considered a luxury and only the high would have had them. Dimitrios Karamitros/iStock
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