Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Mikveh discovery

CHRONIC OFFENDERS: Second Temple Period Mikveh Unearthed in Valley of Elah. Archaeologists stunned to find inscription by Australian soldiers from World War II alongside 1,900-year-old Jewish ritual bath (Ornit Etzer, Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva).
Israel Antiquities Authority excavations in the Valley of Elah's Tzomet Haelah, funded by the Netivei Israel state transportation company, made a rare discovery recently in unearthing a mikveh (ritual Jewish bath) from the Second Temple period.

In an interesting intertwining of time periods, on the roof of an adjacent massive water cistern inscriptions were found, made in the rock by Australian soldiers who were on the site during World War II.

The 1,900-year-old mikveh and 1,700-year-old water cistern were unearthed in explorations ahead of the construction of Highway 38.

"We found a mikveh with five steps quarried into the rock, with the fifth step serving as a bench to sit on the lip of the ritual immersion pool," said Yoav Tsur, the Authority's director of excavations.

Elaborating on the find, Tsur noted "at the site we found intricate pottery shards from the second century CE, including candles, red burnished vessels, a jug and cooking pots. It appears that during the second century CE the mikveh fell out of use, possibly in light of the events of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE)."

Nowadays you get busted for leaving graffiti on ancient ruins.

I pinched the opener of this post from the title of a science fiction story by Spider Robinson.