Thursday, August 06, 2015

Ancient Mikvah Discovered in Jerusalem

During the construction of a kindergarten at the initiative of the Jerusalem municipality in the southeastern Arnona neighborhood, an ancient mikveh (ritual bath) from the Second Temple period nearly 2,000 years ago was found - and with it extraordinary inscriptions bearing a cryptic message from the past.

The Mmikvah was found around two months ago during a routine inspection by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), according to an IAA statement on Wednesday.

An anteroom, flanked by benches, led to the Jewish ritual bath, and alongside it a winepress was also excavated.

But the most unusual aspect of the mikveh was its walls, which were treated with ancient plaster and bore numerous wall paintings and inscriptions, written in mud, soot and incising.

As was customary at the end of the Second Temple period when the Romans occupied the Jewish state of Israel, the writing was in Aramaic and written in cursive Hebrew script. The symbols drawn on the wall include a boat, palm trees and various plant species, and what looks to be a Menorah.

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