David Harris

Home improvements. The Christian hermits who inhabited the Silwan caves often made changes in the chambers. They frequently cut down thresholds, raised lintels and widened doorways to make entry easier. Sometimes they also added doors to the entrances. In the process, they destroyed parts or all of the original funerary inscriptions carved on the entryways. The most puzzling of all changes made by the hermits, however, was the addition of the installation shown here. Strongly resembling a toilet, the installation features a rock-cut “pipe” leading from the hollow to outside the chamber.