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Archaeologists Uncover Rare, 2,700-Year-Old Toilet in Jerusalem

  • Amanda Casanova

    Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and…

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  • 2021 Oct 06

Archaeologists in Israel have discovered a rare ancient toilet in Jerusalem that could date back more than 2,700 years.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the toilet was considered a luxury in the holy city at that time, which dated from the end of the 7th century BCE.

“A private toilet cubicle was very rare in antiquity, and only a few were found to date,” said Yaakov Billig, the director of the excavation.

“Only the rich could afford toilets,” he said, adding that a famed rabbi once suggested that to be wealthy is “to have a toilet next to his table.”

As Haaretz reports, a cubicle surrounding the toilet and a deep septic tank beneath it were both carved out of limestone. The bathroom measured about 5 by 6.5 feet. 

Inside the cubicle, the team found about 30 to 40 bowls, which could have possibly held aromatic oils or incense for the toilet area.

The septic tank underneath the toilet contained pottery and animal bones, according to the IAA.

Archaeologists also found stone capitals and columns from the era, as well as evidence of what was a garden with orchards and aquatic plants.

Prior to the invention of the modern flush toilet in 1596 and its widespread adoption in the 19th century, people relied on a variety of different types of toilets, including communal outhouses, chamber pots or holes in the ground.

The newly identified toilet was not connected to a larger system, so servants would probably have had to empty it, according to Haaretz.

The home where the toilet was found had a view over the Temple Mount. It’s possible the estate was the residence of a king of Judah.

The team will present its findings at the conference “Innovations in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Surroundings.” The conference is scheduled to take place Wednesday and Thursday both in Jerusalem and online.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/MarquesPhotography


Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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