Richard T. Nowitz

Who pays if the bench breaks? Two tourists, excavation assistant Rachel Merhav and the authors, left to right respectively, recreate a situation discussed in the Tosefta (Baba Kamma 2:9): “Five [people] sat on a bench, and it broke. All of them are liable to pay [compensation to the owner]. If it broke [solely] because of the last one, the last one must pay … ” The bench, reconstructed with basalt legs and cypress wood, stands in the traqlin of the House of Rabbi Abun. Benches were a common form of seating in the time of the ancient Qatzrin village.