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Possible Medieval Mikveh Identified in France

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

SAINT-PAUL-TROIS-CHÂTEAUX, FRANCE—A basin in an ancient cellar in southern France may have been used as a mikveh, or Jewish ritual bath, during the Middle Ages, according to a Times of Israel report. Researchers led by Claude de Mecquenem of the French National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research recently re-examined the cellar, which is located in what had been the heart of the Jewish quarter in the town of Saint-Paul-Trois Châteaux in the thirteenth century. “Every time I went down there, there was always water there,” commented Mylène Lert of the Tricastine Museum of Archaeology. “And considering that a Torah ark was discovered in a house next door, the clues suggesting that this is a mikveh are starting to add up,” she said. After King Philip IV expelled Jews from southern France in 1306, they were only allowed in live in guarded ghettos on land owned by the pope. To read about the discovery of another mikveh, go to “Under the Rug.”

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