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View of one of the branches of the interior of the cruciform cistern. Each branch is about 30 ft. (9 m.) long, 20 ft. (6 m.) high, and 6 to 12 ft. (1.8–3.6 m.) high. The cistern was hewn in soft chalk and covered with over 4 in. (10 cm.) of plaster!
This cistern is cruciform in shape. One branch of the cistern is straight ahead. Also visible are the arms that branch off to the right and left.
According to the excavator, this cistern was constructed during the days of the United Monarchy (David and/or Solomon; 1010-930 BC) and went out of use in the early seventh century BC. The excavator estimates that it could hold 57,600 gal. (218,000 l.) of water.
For a brief description of Beth Shemesh and its biblical significance and a map Click Here.