According to CNN, a 2,700-year-old toilet has been found during archaeological excavations of a former royal mansion in Jerusalem.
Dating from the end of the 7th century BCE, the private toilet cubicle was unearthed in the remains of the building, which overlooks the City of David archaeological site and the Temple Mount, according to a press release from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), published Wednesday.
The royal estate operated at the end of the Kings of Judah period, according to the IAA, before Israel was crushed by the Assyrians.
Hewn from stone, the bathroom is a rectangular cabin with a carved toilet that stood over a deep septic tank. “The toilet, made of limestone, is designed for comfortable sitting, with a hole in the center,” the IAA wrote.
Yaakov Billig, director of the excavation for the IAA, said private toilet cubicles were very rare in antiquity, and only a few have been found.
“In fact, only the rich could afford toilets,” Billig said in the press release. “A thousand years later, the Mishnah and the Talmud raised various criteria that defined a rich person, and Rabbi Yossi suggested that to be rich is ‘to have the toilet next to his table,'” he added.
The septic tank beneath the toilet contained a large amount of pottery and animal bones, according to the IAA, which were collected along with the soil fill.
At the wider excavation site, archaeologists discovered stone capitals in a style typical of the period, and small columns that were used as railings for windows.
The team also found evidence that there was a garden near the toilet, with ornamental trees, fruit trees, and aquatic plants, adding to the impression that an extensive palace stood on the site, according to the press release.
Israel has long been a rich source of archaeological finds. In April, a well-preserved 1,600-year-old mosaic was unearthed by archaeologists working in the Israeli city of Yavne.