1,600-year-old Byzantine bathhouse discovered in Israel

The remains of a 1,600-year-old Byzantine bathhouse were exposed last month during an excavation project by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Moshav Tarum, outside of Jerusalem. The 19.5-by-19.5-metre bathhouse includes the frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (warm room) and caldarium (hot room), as well as a courtyard attached to its northeast section. The bathhouse is believed to have been used as an inn situated on an ancient road running along Nahal Harel through the southeastern Ayalon Valley, or as part of a wealthy country estate. “Bathing in bathhouses during the Byzantine period is a continuation of the Roman tradition,”says Dr. Rina Avner, excavation director, Israel Antiquities Authority. “Similar bathhouses were found in the past at Latrun and Caesarea.””This remarkable new discovery will serve as a valuable addition to Israel’s vast collection of archeological treasures,”says Oded Grofman, Consul for Tourism, Israel Government Tourist Office – Canada, “and will provide some additional excitement to historic-minded travellers arriving in Israel this year.”(