Hypocaust of the bathouse
In salvage excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the middle of the Shu’afat neighborhood of Jerusalem for the purpose of laying the infrastructure of the light rail road, directed by the Moriah Company and on behalf of the Municipality of Jerusalem, remains of a Jewish settlement are being exposed that existed there after the destruction of the Temple and the Second Temple period. A 400 meter long strip of the settlement was exposed in which a network of streets and alleys, residential buildings, public buildings, ritual baths etc were discerned. The settlement is situated east of the Early Roman road that leads from Jerusalem to Nablus, and it is the largest Jewish settlement of this period that has been exposed to date in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Based on archaeological evidence that was uncovered at the site it is apparent the inhabitants that resided there were a well-to-do Jewish population.
The director of the excavations on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, Rahel Bar-Natan, reported that numerous stone vessels were discovered, which according to Jewish tradition in the Second Temple period were considered vessels that are not susceptible to becoming ritually unclean. Coin hoards were also found, among them a rare gold coin that bears the likeness of the emperor Trajan. “This is the second coin of its kind that has been discovered so far in archaeological excavations in the country and the first of its kind to be found inside the Green Line”.
It turns out that a rather large Jewish settlement continued to exist under Roman military rule in a place close to the city (so close one can almost see it from there) and the Jews who resided there apparently continued the ritual and religious practices that were characteristic of the same period.
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