2,700 Year Old Toilet Discovered In Jerusalem


Jakub L., Reporter

On the morning of Tuesday, October 5th, archeologists discovered a toilet from the 7th century B.C., the First Temple Period, in Jerusalem. They unearthed it during the excavation of an ancient mansion.

The toilet, contained within a cubicle of stone, was a sign of luxury in its time. In fact, Rabbi Yossi claims in the Talmud that “one who has a toilet near his table” is wealthy (Shabbat 25b). Additionally, the archaeologists detected evidence that a garden existed near the cubicle, another sign of wealth. “We found gorgeous ornamented stones carved as capitals, window frames, [and] window blusters,” stated Yaakov Billig, director of the excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority, in the YouTube video “Ancient 2700-Year-Old Toilet Discovered in Jerusalem”.

Designed to be comfortable, the toilet is constructed from limestone with a hole in the center opening into a septic tank, which was extremely rare in the 7th century B.C. Those who lived in the mansion also discarded garbage in the toilet. Among the items found in the tank were animal bones and broken bowls. The bowls likely contained aromatic oils thrown into the toilet to enhance the smell. Studying the contents of the tank could also potentially reveal information about the peoples’ diets during the First Temple Period as well as bacteria from that time.

To establish a tourist site in the Armon Hanatziv area, the nonprofit organization the City of David Foundation funded the excavation. During the British Palestine Mandate, a time period when Britain ruled over Israel, then called Palestine, the British governor’s residence stood in Armon Hanatziv. The mansion where the toilet was discovered is located near the governor’s palace.

“It is fascinating to see how something that is obvious to us today, such as toilets, was a luxury item during the reign of the kings of Judah,” Eli Eskosido, Israel Antiquities Authority director, commented, according to Jerusalem Post article “Archaeologists find a 2,700-year-old toilet in luxurious palace in Jerusalem”. “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,” he added.