• January 11, 2005
    reads 4891 reads
    Archaeologists discover Siloam Pool remains
Archaeologists discover Siloam Pool remains A wide flight of steps leading down to the site has reportedly already been uncovered, as well as one side of the pool, two corners, a part of the esplanade around it and the water channel leading to it.

"We have excavated it and dated it very accurately with coins found in the cement which the pool was built of," dig leader Roni Reich of Haifa University told Reuters news agency. "Hopefully we can continue the dig."

Reuters says the earliest coins found thus far, date from the middle of the century before Christ's birth.

The pool is part of what was once "a complex of water works that carried water from the Gihon spring," (the only freshwater spring in the immediate vicinity), "located on the eastern slope of the Ophel ridge above the Kidron valley, into Jerusalem," according to Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. It is located near the old walled city of Jerusalem, in the present-day Arab neighbourhood of Silwan.

Focus of research

The pool has been a focus of research since the 19th century.

The conduit that feeds the pool is known as both the Hezekiah Tunnel and the Siloam Tunnel. In 1880, a boy discovered an inscription in the rock, close to the mouth of the tunnel, which records its construction. According to the ancient inscription, work began on both ends of the tunnel simultaneously, and the workmen were guided by the sounds of each other's tools chipping away the rock as they progressed. They broke through only a few meters apart.

The pool itself is thought to have been used as a source of drinking water and for ritual immersions by Jews for over a century, from about 50 BC to 70 AD, when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Romans.

But the history of the pool likely dates back much further, for "some underground means of obtaining water from Gihon was already in use before David took the city" as recorded in 2 Samuel 5:8, states Eerdmans. And when Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem, the Siloam Pool or another reservoir in the same water system was adjacent to a city wall (see Nehemiah 3:15).

In September 2003, radiometric tests on the Siloam Tunnel confirmed that it dates back to around 700 BC