(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."
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
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.
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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