2,700-Year-Old Private Toilet Unearthed in Israel


The ancient toilet cubicle was part of a royal estate that existed in the 7th century BCE (the end of the Kings of Judean period), according to a team of archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The 2,700-year-old private toilet at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem, Israel. Image credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

The 2,700-year-old private toilet at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem, Israel. Image credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

The ancient toilet was uncovered near the Beit Shatz tourist complex at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem, Israel.

It was made of limestone and was designed for comfortable sitting, with a hole in the center.

“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,” said Dr. Yaakov Billig, director of the excavations from the IAA.

“Only the rich could afford toilets. 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’.”

The arcaheologists found a deep-hewn septic tank beneath the acient toilet.

It contained a large amount of pottery from the First Temple Period and animal bones.

“Their investigation may teach us about the lifestyles and diets of the First Temple people and ancient diseases,” they said.

They discovered various architectural items, including stone capitals and small architectural columns that served as railings for windows.

They also identified evidence that a garden with ornamental trees, fruit trees, and aquatic plants was planted near the toilet cubicle.

“All of these allow us to recreate a picture of an extensive and lush mansion, apparently — a magnificent palace from the days of the First Temple that stood on the site,” they said.

“It is fascinating to see how something obvious to us today, such as toilets, was a luxury item during the reign of the kings of Judah. Jerusalem never ceases to amaze,” said Dr. Eli Eskozido, director-general of the IAA.

“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.”

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