Archaeologists peeling back layers of history beneath the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue in East Baltimore have uncovered what is believed to be the oldest Jewish ritual bath complex in the United States.
Hints of the presence of the 1845 bath, or “mikveh,” were first detected during excavations in 2001, led by Esther Doyle Read, lecturer in ancient studies, and her students. But further digging this winter has revealed about a quarter of a five-foot-deep wooden tub, and linked it to a related cistern found in 2008 and to remains of a brick hearth once used to warm the bath’s water.
The excavations are funded by the Jewish Museum of Maryland, the Maryland Historical Trust and UMBC.
The story, “Jewish ritual bath found in Baltimore may be oldest in U.S.” appeared February 13 in the Baltimore Sun.