Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/18/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

First century mansion unearthed in Jerusalem's Mount Zion

What appears to have been a "high-status" residence has been unearthed at Jerusalem's Mount Zion. Archaeologists say the well-appointed domicile dates back to the first century and may have very well belonged to a priest who condemned Jesus Christ to death.

According to Gibson and the digs other co-director, James Tabor, a scholar of early Christian history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the location of the domicile suggests that it belonged to a priest.

According to Gibson and the digs other co-director, James Tabor, a scholar of early Christian history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the location of the domicile suggests that it belonged to a priest.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

9/18/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Jerusalem, Mount Zion, priest, Jesus Christ

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The mansion came complete with an ancient bathtub. "Byzantine tradition places in our general area the mansion of the high priest Caiaphas or perhaps Annas, who was his father-in-law," Shimon Gibson, the archaeologist co-directing the excavation said. 

"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."

According to Gibson and the digs other co-director, James Tabor, a scholar of early Christian history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the location of the domicile suggests that it belonged to a priest. 

The ruins of what appears to be a high-status residence were dug up on Jerusalem

The ruins of what appears to be a high-status residence were dug up on Jerusalem's Mount Zion, just outside the walls of the Old City.

"We might be digging in the home of one of Jesus' archenemies," Tabor told reporters. "Someone who was at the trial of Jesus, and probably voted no."

"We think Sadducees," Tabor said. "That's the class that has the wealth and more of the control of the temple, and they're in with the Romans."

The ancient bathtub, visible on the left side of this excavated bathroom, looks a lot like the moder

The ancient bathtub, visible on the left side of this excavated bathroom, looks a lot like the modern-day equivalent.

Built close to the walls of the Second Temple, the building was erected by King Herod the Great in biblical times. The home boasts a three-pit oven, considered a luxury in those days, as well as a private walk-in ritual pool and a separate bathroom.

Archaeologists say that the bathtub is one of the most significant clues in the mystery surrounding the mansion's owners. Only three other such tubs have been linked to the Second Temple period in Israel, Gibson said. 

The others, to date, have been unearthed in Herod's palaces at Jericho and Masada, and the third was found in a priestly residence excavated nearby in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter.

The mansion

The mansion's residents could walk down these steps into a ritual bathing pool also known as a mikvah.

"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."

Archaeologists also explored a 30-foot-deep cistern. "When we started clearing it, we found a lot of debris inside, which included substantial numbers of animal bones, and then right at the bottom we came across a number of vessels which seemed to be sitting on the floor - cooking pots and bits of an oven as well," Gibson said.

Three round pits served as ovens for the mansion

Three round pits served as ovens for the mansion's residents.

Jewish residents might have lived in the cistern as their final refuge during the Roman siege that led to the city's destruction in the year 70. Roman-Jewish historian Josephus, in his account of the conflagration, said more than 2,000 bodies were found underground in Jerusalem's cisterns and water systems. Most died from starvation.

Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Middle East

Is the U.S. fully responsible for Kunduz hospital airstrike? Watch

Image of Afghan staff react inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On Monday, the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan announced Afghan forces asked for U.S. air support as they fought the Taliban in Kunduz prior to an air strike that killed civilians. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. Army General John ... continue reading

ISIS destruction of Palmyra temple infuriates world community Watch

Image of ISIS pledged to destroy only what it deemed idolatrous. Items, such as grave markers and statues symbols are considered signs of paganism to be destroyed, according to its puritanical version of Islam.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world community - particularly among historians and archaeologists, is feeling anger and growing despair after Islamic State released images showing the destruction of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baal Shamin in the historic Syrian city of Palmyra. LOS ... continue reading

Grotesque images show Syrian treatment of political prisoners Watch

Image of A woman covers her mouth as she views shocking images smuggled out of Syria on display at the UN headquarters in New York (Reuters).

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Syrian military photographer, code named Caesar, smuggled and shared to the world evidence showcasing Bashar al-Assad's grotesque cruelty toward political prisoners. While the dictator's regime asks for assistance from abroad for their fight against the Islamic ... continue reading

'Tragic' and 'Inexcusable': Investigation launched on U.S. Airstrike that hit Afghanistan Doctors Without Borders hospital Watch

Image of


Several people were injured and the death toll rose to 19 during the tragic, inexcusable U.S. airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. Reports reveal that the bombing continued even after the military was advised the hospital had been hit. ... continue reading

Islamic State executes ten Kurdish fighters, releases video (WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT) Watch

Image of A new beheading video has been released.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another execution video has been posted by Islamic State terrorists. In this video, they behead ten Kurdish fighters after forcing them to recite prayers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ten Kurdish fighters were filmed kneeling in orange jumpsuits, reciting ... continue reading

Iranian troops flood Syria: Plan to launch a ground attack Watch

Image of Iran sends troops into Syria (AFP/Atta Kenare).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the past ten days, hundreds of Iranian troops entered Syria and will soon accompany government forces and Lebanese Hezbolla allies. The purpose of the move is to host a ground offensive as the Russian military continues air strikes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Russia calls up 150,000 conscripts as Syrian invasion accelerates Watch

Image of Syrians rally in favor of Assad and Putin.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Russia could be planning a full-scale invasion of the Islamic State, granting the terror organization the final, apocalyptic struggle they have been waiting for. In addition to airstrikes, Putin has called up 150,000 conscripts amid calls to send Muslim troops to crush ... continue reading

Russia launches airstrikes in Syria but didn't target ISIS strongholds Watch

Image of


Russia conducted its first airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Following reports of Russian familiarization flights, it came as no surprise to hear official reports Russian airstrikes have begun.Only yesterday CNN reported Russia ... continue reading

Yazidi woman recounts decapitation of husband and loss of 16-year-old daughter taken to serve as ISIS sex slave Watch

Image of 9-year-old Shilan held her father's headless body following his execution by ISIS soldiers (Owen Holdaway).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yazidi mother speaks out against ISIS, who executed her husband and took one of her daughters as a sex slave. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -The Daily Mail reported the story as 33-year-old Hayar recounted the horrific day she lost her husband and daughter."When ... continue reading

Islamic State cutting out organs from 'healthy' captives to strengthen injured jihadists Watch

Image of Former prisoner Abo Rida says that surgeons for the terror group remove kidneys and corneas from prisoners.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to an eyewitness, captives of Islamic State are forced to endure daylong torture sessions. Even worse, captives who are healthy become unwilling donors of body parts in order to tend to injured jihadists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Former prisoner ... continue reading

All Middle East News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
38 In the course of their journey he came to a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 6th, 2015 Image

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More