Archaeologists may have found an ancient mikve near Marseille

The town, which is situated 90 miles northwest of Marseille, had a large Jewish population in the 13th century.

November 25, 2017 00:18
1 minute read.
Archaeologists may have found an ancient mikve near Marseille

A general view of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux. (photo credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 / VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Two decades after the discovery of an ancient cellar near the French city of Marseille, local archaeologists said it is probably the remains of a mikve, or Jewish ritual bath.

The researchers from the National Institute for Preventative Archeological Studies earlier this week told the France3 television channel that the cellar in the town of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux was “potentially a mikve” in medieval times.

The town, which is situated 90 miles northwest of Marseille, had a large Jewish population in the 13th century, they said.

Claude de Mecquenem, an expert in Jewish history and archaeology for the Institute, reported on two weeks of intensive research. He said that the depth of the basin inside the cellar – a space of 300 square feet – and its location at the heart of what used to be the town’s Jewish quarter suggest “it is potentially a mikve.”

Mylène Lert, a curator at the town’s Tricastine Museum of Archeology, told France3 that she had suspected the space was a mikve since she first descended there in the 1990s, following its discovery in renovations.

“Every time I went down there, there was always water there,” she said. “And considering that a Torah ark was discovered in a house next door, the clues suggesting that this is a mikve are starting to add up.”

The Jews of southern France were allowed to stay only in four locales after the Great Expulsion of French Jewry, decreed by King Philip IV of France in 1306, according to Ram Ben-Shalom, a historian and lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem specializing in the Jewry of Provence. Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux was not one of them.

Jews were allowed to live in closed, guarded and crowded ghettos, known as “carrieres,” in Carpentras, Avignon, Cavaillon and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue because these locales were on lands owned by the pope, who took in Jews in exchange for payment.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

May 23, 2019
Rabbi brutally assaulted in Buenos Aires