A First Temple Cistern Discovered in Jerusalem

You read that right, First Temple period!

Photo: IAA

A large water reservoir dating to the First Temple period was uncovered during archaeological excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, near Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem.

The excavation which exposed the reservoir is part of ongoing efforts to map ancient Jerusalem’s entire drainage channel. The findings, together with other discoveries from the past year, will be presented on Thursday at the 13th annual conference on the “City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem.”

The recently discovered reservoir, with an approximate capacity of 250 cubic meters, is one of the largest water reservoirs ever discovered from the First Temple period. Due to its size, archaeologists believe the reservoir was designed for and used by the general public.

According to Eli Shukron, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the exposure of the current reservoir, as well as smaller cisterns that were revealed along the Tyropoeon Valley, unequivocally indicates that Jerusalem’s water consumption in the First Temple period was not solely based on the output of the Gihon Spring water works, but also on more available water resources such as the one we have just discovered.”

Dr. Tvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist of the Nature and Parks Authority and an expert on ancient water systems, presumed that “the large water reservoir, which is situated near the Temple Mount, was used for the everyday activities of the Temple Mount itself and also by the pilgrims who went up to the Temple and required water for bathing and drinking.”

Interesting that the assertion is that the water was used for pilgrims visiting the Temple and as yet there is no evidence of the Temple.  Perhaps a more cautious evaluation is in order.

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