Ancient Ritual Bath Discovered in the Galilee

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In Israel it is said every inch of sand is a story. One story, accidentally unearthed only a few weeks ago near Kibbutz Hanaton, has local representatives of the Department of Antiquities very excited.

Anat Harrel, an Israeli tour guide and member of her farm community’s improvements committee, related the discovery of an ancient ritual bath, also known as a mikveh, only a half mile from her home at Kibbutz Hanaton.

 Archaeologists originally thought the pool had been built during the Byzantine era, but the type of plaster used to line the interior surfaces of the mikveh turned out to be a major clue as to its date of construction. Like modern pools, a form of plaster was used to line the interior surfaces of ritual baths. Bits of plaster from the mikveh were closely examined and found to be consistent with a type of plaster used during the Second Temple period.

The artifact might have been destroyed or significantly damaged as a result of a nearby bridge and road project, but Anat has happily announced plans to move the ancient mikveh the half-mile distance to Kibbutz Hanaton, thus preserving another story of ancient Israel for future generations to appreciate and admire.

Written by Richard Paracka



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