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The Round Chamber

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The Round Chamber
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Photo Comments

View looking down at the bottom of the pool that Reich and Shukron excavated.  The bottom of the pool is about 20 ft. below the point from which this picture was taken.  It is estimated that the pool measures 22 x 10 ft. [6.7 x 3 m.].

In the center of the image is a doorway.  This is Tunnel IV which leads to the famous "Hezekiah's Tunnel."  This may have been the original starting point for Hezekiah's Tunnel!  To the right of the doorway is a carved frame that has a recently deciphered inscription!!

On the right side of the image, is a large "gash."  This is where Tunnel III entered the pool, bringing water from the Gihon Spring.  Or more precisely, Channel II led to Tunnel III, and that in turn led to the "Round Chamber" (aka "The Pool") of the "Rock-cut Pool."

Probably a wooden platform was built over the pool.  Those who had descended through the “diagonal tunnel” would have stood on the platform, lowering their sacks into the pool, drawing them up, and then walking back through the “diagonal tunnel” to the interior of the city of Jerusalem.

The excavators believe that this pool system was built during the Middle Bronze II Period (ca. 1800 B.C.) and that it continued in use for over 1,000 years.  Indeed it is possible Joab and his men gained access to “Jerusalem/Jebus” via this water system (2 Sam 5:6–10; 1 Chron 11:4–9).

For a popular presentation of their finds see Reich, Ronny, and Shukron, Eli.  "Light at the End of the Tunnel:  Warren's Shaft Theory of David's Conquests Shattered."  Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. 25, no. 1 (January/February, 1999):22–33, 72.

And for recent interpretations see:

Shanks, Hershel. “Will King Hezekiah Be Dislodged from His Tunnel?"  Biblical Archaeology Review vol. 39, no. 3 (September/October, 2013): 52-61.

Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy,  "Proof of biblical kings of Israel, Judah deciphered on Jerusalem rock inscriptions.  The Jerusalem Post.  December 16, 2022.  Online article.