Archaeologists in Israel have found a rare ancient toilet in Jerusalem dating back more than 2,700 years.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority said that the smooth, carved limestone toilet was found in a rectangular cabin. It said that it was part of a sprawling mansion overlooking what is now referred to as the Old City. The officials said that the lavatory accessory was designed for comfortable sitting, with a deep septic tank dug underneath.
They said that at that time, private bathrooms were a luxury in the holy city.
The Antiquities Authority said that animal bones and pottery found in the septic tank could shed light on the lifestyle and diet of people living at that time, as well as ancient diseases.
The director of the excavation Yaakov Billig said, “A private toilet cubicle was very rare in antiquity, and only a few were found to date. Only the rich could afford toilets.”
Billig said that a famed rabbi once suggested that to be wealthy is “to have a toilet next to his table.”
Detailing the discovery, Billig said that the bathroom measured about 5 by 6.5 feet. Although, the researchers remain undecided if the toilet was carved from bedrock or made out of a finer stone
Inside the toilet cubicle, the excavation team found 30 to 40 bowls. Billig said that it was likely that the vessels may have held aromatic oils or incense, early air fresheners for those making use of the facility.
Archaeologists have previously found a number of other toilets in Jerusalem, including one at a building known as the House of Ahiel. In 2016, experts announced the discovery of a separate commode in the ancient city of Tel Lachish, about 40 miles southwest of Jerusalem. They suggested that ancient Israeli forces may have installed the toilet as a way of intentionally desecrating a pagan shrine.
The archaeologists also found stone capitals and columns from the era. They said that there was evidence of a nearby garden with orchards and aquatic plants, presenting further evidence that those living there were quite wealthy.