The limestone toilet cubicle was excavated at a digging site in the Armon Hanatziv neighbourhood of Jerusalem.
“A private toilet cubicle was very very rare in antiquity, and only a few were found to date, most of them in the City of David,” said Yaakov Billig, director of the excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority. “In fact, only the rich could afford toilets.”
He added that a famous rabbi once suggested that to be rich is “to have the toilet next to his table”.
A spokesperson for the Israel Antiquities Authority said that the bathroom had a carved stone toilet with a hole in the centre, positioned over a deep septic tank. The toilet was found in a rectangular cabin that was part of a sprawling mansion overlooking what is now the Old City.
“It was designed for comfortable sitting,” an official added.
Experts suggested that the toilet dates back to the First Temple Period and is believed to belong to an ancient royal estate that operated in the 7th century BCE.
Archaeologists also found a number of pottery shards and animal bones underneath the toilet. They expect that these could teach them “the lifestyles and diets of the First Temple people, as well as ancient diseases”, an IAA official said.
“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, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority told The Times of Israel. “Jerusalem never ceases to amaze. One can only imagine the breathtaking view.”
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