By Ilan Ben Zion for The Times of Israel
Home renovation usually entails picking paints, buying furniture, and dealing with contractors. For the Shimshoni family living in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood, it meant calling in archaeologists after stumbling upon a perfectly preserved 2,000-year-old ritual bath under their living room.
Last week the Israel Antiquities Authority finished excavating the subterranean bath, which archaeologist Amit Reem said Wednesday was “a significant find” and may have belonged to a private home in a first century Jewish village.
The ritual bath adheres to Jewish halachic requirements and measures 1.8 meters (5 feet, 11 inches) deep, 3.5 meters long and 2.4 meters wide.
More intriguingly, it lends some support to Christian tradition linking Ein Kerem, today a quaint neighborhood clinging to a hill on Jerusalem’s southwestern edge, with the birthplace of John the Baptist.
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