LISTEN: Medieval poop chute exposed in renovations at Jerusalem’s Tower of David

This week The Times of Israel Podcast is taking you on a journey through thousands of years of history and archaeology at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem’s Old City.

While being largely shut due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the museum is undergoing a huge $40 million renewal project. The massive renovation will make the Crusader-period building located on a 2 1/2 acre archaeological site more accessible and double the space of the indoor galleries.

But because they can’t build up, the museum, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, is going deep down into a Crusader moat that was filled in during the Ottoman period.

In our on-the-scene podcast, we speak first with Eilat Leiber, the director and head curator of the 30-year-old museum. She explains that the Tower of David Museum currently welcomes over 500,000 visitors annually from around the world, and the renewed museum expects to double that number.

A sunken visitor’s center will stand in place of these excavations at the foot of Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum, November 2020 (Ricky Rachman)

And then, to the tune of bobcat tractors, we speak with Amit Re’em, the IAA’s Jerusalem district head. He gives us a deep, detailed historical overview of the archaeological remains held in the fortress, starting from the 8th century BCE and King Hezekiah, through the Hasmoneans, the Byzantines, early Islam, Crusaders, and finally the Ottomans.

Hear how Re’em takes us behind the scenes at the excavation — with emphasis on the word “behind.”

Roof of latrine discovered in a Crusader-era tunnel during recent excavations at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum, November 2020 (Ricky Rachman)

The Times of Israel podcasts are available for download on iTunesSoundcloudTuneIn, Pocket CastsStitcher, PlayerFM or wherever you get your podcasts.

Check out last week’s Times of Israel Podcast here:

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