First Temple era tunnel unearthed in the City of David, Jerusalem
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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 First Temple era tunnel unearthed in the City of David, Jerusalem

11/11/2008

A water tunnel dating back to the 10th Century BCE has been discovered at the City of David that could be the "tsinnor" mentioned in the account of King David's conquest of Jerusalem.

 
Inside the water tunnel-City of David

(Communicated by the Ministry of Tourism)

A water tunnel dating back to the 10th Century BCE has been discovered at the City of David that could be the "tsinnor" mentioned in the account of King David's conquest of Jerusalem (II Samuel 5:8). 

The opening of the tunnel, which was discovered during ongoing excavations at the site earlier this year, is just wide enough to allow one person to pass through, but, due to debris that has yet to be moved, only the first 50 meters of the tunnel are accessible. The walls of the tunnel are composed partly of unworked stones, while other parts use the bedrock.

The tunnel was discovered under a large stone structure which was previously identified by archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar as King David’s palace (2 Samuel 5:11). The already existing tunnel was integrated into its construction and was probably used to channel water to a pool located on the palace's southeast side. Toward the end of the First Temple period, the tunnel was converted to an escape passage, perhaps used in a manner similar to King Zedekiah's escape during the Babylonian siege (2 Kings 25:4).

During this phase, additional walls were constructed in order to prevent the possibility of anyone entering the tunnel from the slope of the hill and to prevent penetration of debris inside the tunnel. Complete oil lamps, which testify to the tunnel's last use and are characteristic of the end of the First Temple period, were found on the tunnel floor. According to Mazar, the tunnel's characteristics, date and location testify with high probability that the water tunnel is the one called "tsinnor" in the story of the King David's conquest of Jerusalem.

First Temple oil lamps found in the tunnel
First Temple oil lamps found in the tunnel

The excavations were conducted for the fourth year by Dr. Eilat Mazar on behalf of the Shalem Center and the Ir David Foundation and under the academic auspice of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The City of David is the original hilltop upon which King David dedicated ancient Jerusalem as his capital 3,000 years ago. Deep underground, the City of David is revealing some of the most exciting archeological finds of the ancient world, while above ground, the site is a vibrant center of activity, complete with visitor's center, 3D exhibition and guided tours through the excavations that include Warren's Shaft, ancient water systems such as Hezekiah's Tunnel and the Second Temple Shiloah pool.

 
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