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Excavations conducted in preparation for a project to increase access to the Western Wall for disabled people have unearthed a first-century villa that once overlooked the Second Temple. The villa is located in what Josephus called the “Upper City,” an area in Jerusalem where elites used to live. The villa had its own mikvah (Jewish ritual bath), which was hewn into the limestone mountainside and vaulted with large dressed stones. Archaeologists also discovered artifacts from the Roman–Byzantine and Ottoman periods, including an industrial pool constructed by Roman soldiers who were stationed in Jerusalem. In the bottom layer of tile bricks, one was found to be stamped with the letters “LXF,” a short form for “Legio X Fretensis,” the full name of the Tenth Legion.


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