Luxurious Lavatory: 2,700-Year-Old Toilet Unearthed in Jerusalem
© Yoli SchwartzIn this photo provided by Israel Antiquities Authority shows a rare ancient toilet in Jerusalem dating back more than 2,700 years Jerusalem, when private bathrooms were a luxury in the holy city, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. The Israeli Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday that the smooth, carved limestone toilet was found in a rectangular cabin that was part of a sprawling mansion overlooking what is now the Old City. (Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority via AP)
A team of archeologists has unearthed a 2,700-year-old toilet in Jerusalem. While toilets have become as commonplace in homes as Bibles are in hotel drawers, in the year 700 B.C.E., they truly were fit for a king.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the limestone toilet was excavated at a site in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem. The toilet is believed to be part of an ancient royal estate that dates back to 700 B.C.E and was positioned over a deep septic tank. While the discovery of a toilet from this era is a rare find, archeologists can learn the most from the contents of the septic tank.
The team found pottery shards and animal bones in the septic tank, which aid archeologists to better understand the lifestyle, diet, and diseases of ancient Jerusalem. Inside the 5 by 6.5 foot toilet cubicle, archeologists found between 30 and 40 bowls, which they hypothesize could have held aromatic oils and incense to freshen up the room.
The septic tank was not attached to a large drainage system, indicating that servants would occasionally have to empty its contents. The ancient palace where the toilet was discovered has been under excavation for over a year. The Israel Antiquities Authority has speculated that the palace could have belonged to a king of Judah or a wealthy member of one of Jerusalem’s noble families. With the discovery of a toilet, it could be another throne room for a King of Judah.