Archaeologists find 1st Temple-era cistern in J'lem

The large reservoir is believed to have been used by pilgrims to the Temple Mount who required water for bathing and drinking.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 6, 2012 11:23
1 minute read.
Ancient water reservoir

Ancient water reservoir 370. (photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority)

 
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A large water reservoir dating to the First Temple period was uncovered during archaeological excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, near Robinson's Arch in Jerusalem.

The excavation which exposed the reservoir is part of ongoing efforts to map ancient Jerusalem's entire drainage channel. The findings, together with other discoveries from the past year, will be presented on Thursday at the 13th annual conference on the “City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem.”

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The recently discovered reservoir, with an approximate capacity of 250 cubic meters, is one of the largest water reservoirs ever discovered from the First Temple period. Due to its size, archaeologists believe the reservoir was designed for and used by the general public.

According to Eli Shukron, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the exposure of the current reservoir, as well as smaller cisterns that were revealed along the Tyropoeon Valley, unequivocally indicates that Jerusalem’s water consumption in the First Temple period was not solely based on the output of the Gihon Spring water works, but also on more available water resources such as the one we have just discovered."

Dr. Tvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist of the Nature and Parks Authority and an expert on ancient water systems, presumed that “the large water reservoir, which is situated near the Temple Mount, was used for the everyday activities of the Temple Mount itself and also by the pilgrims who went up to the Temple and required water for bathing and drinking."

She added that the reservoir's general characteristics typify the First Temple period and resemble ancient water systems previously found near Beersheva, Arad and Bet Shemesh.

Upon completion of the excavations, the IAA will examine the possibility of turning the water reservoir into a tourist attraction.

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