Mikve from era of Second Temple excavated in J'lem

In preparing to build a new highway near Jerusalem's Kiryat Menachem neighborhood, archeologists have discovered an ancient treasure.

April 10, 2013 10:42
1 minute read.
Binyamin Storchen

Binyamin Storchen. (photo credit: Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)

The Israel Antiquities Authority, in preparation for the construction of a new road in Jerusalem's Kiryat Menachem neighborhood, has discovered an ancient mikve (ritual bath) from the era of the Second Temple.

Binyamin Storchen, who headed the excavation, said that many mikves have been discovered in recent years, but the water running through this particular ritual bath is "unique and unusual."

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According to Jerusalem's district archaeologist, Amit Ram, the Kiryat Menachem community has expressed a keen interest in preserving the pool.

The recently excavated mikve has an intricate structure, including an irrigation system involving complex canals leading into the bath. Significantly more sophisticated than most modern mikves, which were built much simpler, and drained water from a small nearby man-made pool into a small enclosed space.

Due to the drought during the period of the Second Temple, when this mikve is believed to have been built, the special drainage techniques were implemented to ensure the use of every last drop of water.

After use of the mikve was discontinued, the water canals were filled with dirt and the site was used as a rock quarry. Later, in the 20th century, a circular opening was carved into the ceiling, and the ancient mikve served as a cistern.

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