October 5 (WNN) — Israeli officials announced Tuesday that archaeologists have discovered a rare private toilet that was once part of a royal mansion in Jerusalem.
Workers uncovered a 2,700-year-old bathroom from the First Temple period as they excavate in the Armon Hantziv neighborhood to build a new tourist center.
Yaakov Billig, director of excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority, said the limestone toilet, which was installed on top of a septic tank, was extremely rare during that time period.
“A private toilet room was very rare in antiquity, and to date, only a few have been found, mostly in the city of David,” he said on the IAA’s Facebook page. “Only the wealthy can afford a toilet. In fact, a thousand years later, the Mishnah and the Talmud discuss the various criteria that define a wealthy person, and Rabbi Yossi’s choice of being rich with a table near his desk. There has to be a toilet.”
IAA archaeologists previously discovered ornate stone capitals and small columns from a window railing at the site. Evidence found during excavations suggests that the toilet was located near an orchard of ornamental and fruit trees and aquatic plants.
The authority said the discoveries have allowed archaeologists to reconstruct what the mansion of the First Temple period would have looked like.
IAA director Eli Escocido said, “It is fascinating to see that something obvious to us today, such as a toilet, was a luxury item during the reign of the kings of Judah. Jerusalem never ceases to amaze.”