An Ancient Pawprint Among Roman Bath Finds in Jerusalem

November 23, 2010 - 8:37 PM by

ancient roman paw printDating back to the second century CE, archeologists uncover Roman-era paw print this week.

It’s not just ancient Roman baths being uncovered in Jerusalem this week. The Israel Antiquities Authorities are reporting a Roman-era dog’s paw print among its finds. Says Dr. Ofer Sion, excavation director in the Old City of Jerusalem: “Another interesting discovery that caused excitement during the excavation is the paw print of a dog that probably belonged to one of the soldiers. The paw print was impressed on the symbol of the legion on one of the roof tiles and it could have happened accidentally or have been intended as a joke.”

Excavations started before the construction of a Jewish mikveh, ritual bath, began. The Roman ruins have been dated to 1,800 years ago and it is believed to be a bath used by the Tenth Legion. These were the Roman soldiers who destroyed the Jewish Temple.

The discovery of the ancient bath, and paw prints!, puts new light on the Aelia Capitolina, the Roman city founded on the Second Temple period ruins of Jerusalem. It is Aelia Capitolina that defines the character of the Old City of Jerusalem as we know it today. Even though dogs aren’t really tolerated in the Old City (I tried walking mine around the city to the fright of Arabs and Jews alike), it just shows you how man’s best friend has been around for some time.


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