Archaeologists are finding all sorts of cool things in Jerusalem these days. Among them, a first-century mansion on Mount Zion from Jesus’ time. It includes a bathtub that just may have belonged to one of the priests who helped put the Christian figurehead to death.
“Byzantine tradition places in our general area the mansion of the high priest Caiaphas or perhaps Annas, who was his father-in-law,” said archaeologist Shimon Gibson, who co-directed the excavation. “In those days you had extended families who would have been using the same building complex, which might have had up to 20 rooms and several different floors.”
If you recognize the names Caiaphas or Annas from the Biblical story of Christ’s crucifixion, there’s a reason for it. Scholars on the dig really think they’re standing in the home of one of those two men.
“We might be digging in the home of one of Jesus’ archenemies,” James Tabor, a scholar of early Christian history at the University of North Carolina, told NBC News. “Someone who was at the trial of Jesus, and probably voted no.”
Perhaps the most interesting discovery at the site is an ancient bathtub, which looks quite a bit like the ones we use today. The tub is one of only four others discovered from the Second Temple period in Israel. Two were found in Herod’s palaces at Jericho and Masada, while the third was discovered in another priest’s mansion in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter.
“It is only a stone’s throw away, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that the people who made that bathroom probably were the same ones who made this one,” Gibson said. “It’s almost identical, not only in the way it’s made, but also in the finishing touches, like the edge of the bath itself.”
So, archaeologists basically discovered the bathtub that the guy who helped crucify Jesus soaked in after a long, hard day… of condemnation!