JERUSALEM - Israeli archaeologists have discovered an 1,800-year-old bathing pool thought to be used by the Roman legion that destroyed the Jewish temple just decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Deep in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, archeologist Ofer Sion said the new discovery shows the Roman city built on the ruins of Jerusalem in the second and third century was much larger than previously thought.
"The first time we have something from Aelia Capitolina in the Jewish Quarter, that's maybe the point, the highest point of this excavation," he explained.
Archaeologists uncovered a building from the 10th Roman legion -- the first of its kind in the area.
A salvage excavation carried out before new construction uncovered a Roman pool thought to be part of a larger complex.
"We think the 10th legion built also this house because you have a lot of coins and roof tiles, which are stamped by the legion stamp," Sion said.
Historians say Information about Aelia Capatolina is important because that city defined the character and appearance of the ancient Jerusalem known today.
A drawing shows what the bathhouse may have looked like.
During excavations, archaeologists uncovered a number of plastered bathtubs in the side of the pool. The floor was covered with white industrial mosaic pavement.
They also found a pipe in the side of the pool that probably was used to fill the pool with water, and a drain carrying water out into a cistern.
Roof tiles stamped by the legion were also found -- a very rare find.