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An ancient aqueduct that served as the principal water supply to the Sultan's Pool outside the Old City of Jerusalem has been uncovered during a recent archeological excavation, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.
The aqueduct, which supplied pilgrims and residents with water for both drinking and purification, was discovered in a salvage excavation in the city's Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood ahead of the planned construction of the Montefiore Museum at the site, the state-run archeological body said.
The upscale district overlooking the Old City walls, which is now a top city attraction for artists and painters, was the first Jewish neighborhood outside the Old City.
Currently a popular venue for large outdoor cultural events in the city, Sultan's Pool, located at the foot of the neighborhood, was for hundreds of years one of the city's most important water reservoirs.
The aqueduct was repeatedly used and repaired for about two thousand years, dating back to the Second Temple period, to supply the many pilgrims who flocked to Jerusalem with drinking water, said Dr. Ron Beeri, director of the excavation at the site.
The recent excavation focused on a section of the previously uncovered "low level" aqueduct, one of two ancient water conduits that originated in the Hebron Highlands and Solomon's Pools and terminated in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
He said that the location of the aqueduct was "extremely successful and efficient," noting that his team had uncovered aqueducts dating from four different periods at the site, ranging from the Byzantine to the Ottoman.
The impressive, three-meter high Ottoman-era aqueduct found during the dig included a tower and a ceramic pipe which diverted water to Sultan's Pool, as well as to a public fountain which was built for pilgrims.
The low-level aqueduct is to be incorporated in the planned Montefiore Museum to be built by the Jerusalem Foundation at the site.