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First Temple Period Water System Unearthed View from inside the reservoir, Photo by Assaf Peretz, IAA
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Video by Assaf Peretz, IAA

27 July 2017

 

A large 2,700-year-old water system was recently exposed at Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) excavations near Rosh Ha-Ayin.

 

“It is difficult not to be impressed by the sight of the immense underground reservoir quarried out so many years ago. In antiquity, rainwater collection and storage was a fundamental necessity," noted IAA Excavations Director, Gilad Itach.

The water system exposed is nearly 20 meters long and reaches a depth of over 4 meters. The excavations reveal that the reservoir was built beneath a large structure with walls that are all nearly 50 meters in length. Some of the potsherds found on the floors of the rooms probably belonged to vessels used to draw water from the reservoir. It is highly likely that the structure and the reservoir were built at the end of the Iron Age (late eighth or early seventh century BCE), but whereas the building was abandoned during the Persian period the reservoir was still in use until modern times.