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Ancient Roman bathhouse uncovered in Jerusalem

JTA

November 22, 2010 | 5:44 pm

An 1,800-year-old bathing pool was discovered in excavations prior to the construction of a men’s mikveh in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.

The pool was part of a bathhouse used by the Tenth Legion, the Roman soldiers who destroyed the Second Temple, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The bathhouse tiles were stamped with the symbols of the Tenth Legion, which was garrisoned in Jerusalem while the pagan city of Aelia Capotilina was built on the ruins of Jerusalem.

“Another interesting discovery that caused excitement during the excavation is the paw print of a dog that probably belonged to one of the soldiers,” said Ofer Sion, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “The paw print was impressed on the symbol of the legion on one of the roof tiles, and it could have happened accidentally or have been intended as a joke.”

It was the first discovery of a building that belonged to the Roman Legion, the antiquities authority said. The remains of the ancient Roman bathhouse will be integrated in the new mikveh slated to be built in the Jewish Quarter.

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