Rare First Temple-Era Stone Toilet Uncovered in Jerusalem
In an extremely rare find, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the City of David announced Tuesday that a 2,700-year-old toilet has been found in the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem.
The IAA stated that the toilet was part of a royal estate from the First Temple Period, and demonstrates the extraordinary wealth of those who occupied the site.
The toilet is made of limestone and was part of a rectangular-shaped bathroom positioned over a deep septic tank.
Other items of considerable value were found at the site, including stone capitals of high artistic quality, columns that served as window railings, and a garden that appears to have contained ornamental trees and plants.
Yaakov Billig, the director of the excavation, commented, “A private toilet cubicle was very rare in antiquity, and only a few were found to date, most of them in the City of David.”
“In fact, only the rich could afford toilets,” he explained. “A thousand years later, the Mishnah and the Talmud raised various criteria that defined a rich person, and Rabbi Yossi suggested that to be rich is ‘to have the toilet next to his table.’”
Eli Eskosido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said, “It is fascinating to see how something that is obvious to us today, such as toilets, was a luxury item during the reign of the kings of Judah.”
“Jerusalem never ceases to amaze,” he stated. “One can only imagine the breathtaking view. 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.”