Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Channel Opened from Siloam to Old City

As noted here over the weekend, archaeologists have completed excavation of a drainage channel that ran below street level in the 1st century.  It is now possible to walk along the street and then through the channel from the Pool of Siloam at the south of the City of David up to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park just inside the Old City walls.  In the future visitors will be able to exit the tunnel in the Davidson Center, the archaeological museum at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. 

This will effectively create a protected route of passage for visitors through a sometimes dangerous Arab neighborhood.  Tourists would enter the archaeological area on the north end of the City of David, walk down to “Area G” before entering the Warren’s Shaft.  From this point, visitors have two options.  Those who are more adventurous and prepared to get wet can walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  Others may choose the dry Siloam Tunnel.  Once at the Pool of Siloam, the tourist can walk along the newly excavated street (first photo below) and then through the newly excavated drainage channel (second photo below).

Excavated street in City of David, Schick, IMG_4413

First-century street in the City of David.  Photo courtesy of Alexander Schick.

Excavated drainage channel in City of David, Schick, IMG_4425

Drainage channel below first-century street in the City of David.  Photo courtesy of Alexander Schick.

From Haaretz:

The Israel Antiquities Authority has completed an archaeological dig of a tunnel that will enable visitors to cross under the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, not far from the Temple Mount.

The tunnel, which was uncovered during excavations conducted over the past few months, was formerly used for drainage and dates back to the Second Temple. It links the City of David in Silwan with the Archaeological Park & Davidson Center, which is located near the Western Wall.

The Antiquities Authority stressed that the newly uncovered tunnel does not come near the Temple Mount and that it has no plans to dig in that direction.

The digging had been going on for seven years and was delayed for about a year by order of the High Court of Justice, after Silwan residents filed a petition claiming the dig was damaging their homes.

The full story is here.  Earlier reports about these excavations are linked to in a previous post.

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3 Comments:

  • I would not call the Arab neighborhood a "dangerous" one. I have walked there on multiple occasions and hardly think tourists need a "safe" underground passage all the way to the Davidson Center. Such talk simply contributes to the misunderstandings that pervade this wonderful area.

    Thank you for keeping us up to date on the tunnel. It is a fascinating discovery of great archeological interest. I enjoy your blog and marvel at the interesting news you bring to us.

    Joe Anderson

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jan 25, 10:25:00 AM  

  • Hey Todd, you better look at what the Mufti has to say about this.
    Let's just say history and engineering are not his strong part.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/new-jerusalem-tunnel-will-damage-temple-mount-palestinians-say-1.339213

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 26, 04:19:00 AM  

  • I am not sure in what universe Mr Anderson is living, but I have to agree with Todd. For the casual tourist or one who has not had much experience in the contested areas of Jerusalem, walking along the north-south road from the Siloam Pool to the Dung Gate is NOT recommended. To suggest that it is otherwise is irresponsible. I too, have walked it many times only to have stones thrown at me, etc. Having a safe and archaeologically important alternate seems to be a no-brainer, even it if adds to "misunderstandings."

    By Blogger David, at Fri Jan 28, 09:56:00 AM  

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