The remains of a 2,000-year-old ritual bath have come to light in Jerusalem, Israeli archaeologists say.

The unusually complex bath was uncovered near the modern-day Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Menachem, and would have been in use around the time of the Second Temple, according to a statement Wednesday from the Israel Antiquities Authority. The remains were found in a salvage dig ahead of the construction of a new road.

Someone entering the bath would have walked down a few steps into an underground chamber hewn from the bedrock. Water for the bath came, unusually, not from a nearby pool but from channels leading down from three basins carved into the roof.

The entrance to the ritual bath (photo credit: Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

The entrance to the ritual bath (photo credit: Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

The system, archaeologist Benyamin Storchan said in the statement, conforms with the Jewish laws governing ritual baths, “like collecting the water in it naturally without human contact, and ensuring that the water does not seep into the earth, which is why the bath was treated with a special kind of plaster.”

But the construction of the bath was unique, he said: “The complex that was exposed at this time is a more sophisticated and intricate system.”

The bath was likely linked to a nearby community from the Second Temple period, he said.