Remains of Ancient Mikveh Found in Guerrero

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The archeological remains of a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath site, were discovered this week in Juliantla, Guerrero, by Mexican archeologist Diego Martínez Serrano, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) reported Wednesday, Sept. 22.

The remains of the 16th century bath site, deemed in good condition, were discovered at Juliantla, a town in the municipality of Taxco de Alarcón, in Mexico’s coastal state of Guerrero.

The results of Martínez Serrano’s extensive research were presented during the fourth session of the VI Colloquium of Historical Archeology, transmitted virtually throughout the month of September.

The archeologist explained that the mikveh is located in the Plaza de Juliantla and has always been known by locals as the “Bath of the Jews.”

It consists of a well for the baptistery, and on the right side there is a one-meter stone dome, which in turn covers a pit that contains the rainwater that feeds the bath through a conduit.

The mikveh of Juliantla complies with specifications by Jewish law requiring that a bath site be the first construction when a community or Jewish quarter is founded, even before a synagogue.

The discovery of the mikveh contrasts with previous archeological data surrounding the mining city of Taxco, since Judaism was believed to have been a persecuted religious practice during the colonial period.

It suggests that there was a significant Jewish community in early colonial Mexico.

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