Not only was the cleansing process strictly proscribed, but also the building process had very specific rules too: no metal could be used in its construction because metal may have been used to kill someone. No pottery could be used to make the plaster because that pottery may have ben used in a sacrifice to another God.The water must be part rainwater and part spring water. And there were many more rules, all of which make the presence of the Mikveh, in this very inaccessible place, even more remarkable. It must have taken a lot of resources and time to build; the temperatures in the desert seldom drop below 40c, the climb is extremely dangerous,water is scarce, carrying building materials is difficult and so on.
Why then is it there?
This is the question we are hoping to answer when we excavate the cave in the 2012 season. Academia have now accepted that what was previously thought to be a cistern or a pool is, in fact, a Mikveh, and we must build from there.
We want to know what was in this cave that meant a Mikveh was necessary? Scrolls? Temple artefacts?
Come and join us to find out.