2,000-year-old ritual bath found in Jerusalem
Jerusalem: Archaeologists discovered here a 2,000-year-old ritual bath that used a highly sophisticated system of water collection to comport with Jewish law, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Wednesday.
Uncovered during preparations to build a new road in Jerusalem's Kiryat Menachem neighbourhood, the ritual bath, or "mikveh", goes back to the period of the Second Temple.
"Numerous ritual baths have been excavated in Jerusalem in recent years, but the water supply system that we exposed in this excavation is unique and unusual," excavation director Benyamin Storchan said in a statement from the IAA.
"The ritual bath consists of an underground chamber entered by way of steps. The mikveh received the rainwater from three collecting basins that were hewn on the roof of the bath, and the pure water was conveyed inside the chamber through channels," the archaeologist said.
That method of construction accords with the Jewish laws pertaining to ritual baths, "like collecting the water in it naturally without human contact, and ensuring that the water does not seep into the earth, which is why the bath was treated with a special kind of plaster", Storchan said.