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First Temple Period Water Tunnel Unearthed in Jerusalem

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Jerusalem, Israel - 14 November 2008 - A water tunnel dating back to the 10th Century BC has been discovered at the City of David. Archaeologists believe that the tunnel could be the "tsinnor" or "pipe" mentioned in the Biblical 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 only the first 50 yards of the tunnel are accessible.  The walls of the tunnel are composed partly of unworked stones, while other parts use the bedrock.
Water Tunnel
The tunnel was discovered under a large stone structure which was previously identified by archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar as King David's palace (II Samuel 5:11). The tunnel existed before the palace was built, and was integrated into its construction. The tunnel 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 (II 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.

The excavations were conducted for the fourth year by Dr. Mazar on behalf of the Shalem
Oil Lamps Center and the Ir David Foundation and under the academic auspice of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. According to Dr. Mazar, the tunnel's characteristics, date and location suggest with high probability that the water tunnel is the "tsinnor" referred to in the story of King David's conquest 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 a visitor's center, 3D exhibition and guided tours through the excavations, the site is an exciting destination for visitors to Jerusalem.

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