The ancient cistern found in Jerusalem: Archaeologists date this back to the times of the 'First Temple', up to 3,000 years ago
Archaeologists discover 3,000 year old reservoir used by pilgrims on their way to Temple Mount in Jerusalem
- Reservoir could have held up to 250 cubic metres of water
- Handprints of workers from 3,000 years ago still visible in plaster
The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the 'cistern' could have held 66,000 gallons (250 cubic meters) of water.
It likely dates back to the era of the First Temple, which could make it up to 3,000 years old.
According to the Hebrew Bible, the First Temple was constructed by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. and then destroyed 400 years later.
Discovery: Israeli archaeologist Eli Skukrun reveals the large water reservoir from the First Temple Period
Rubble in paradise: A visitor at the Western Wall where rocks are piled from when the Old City walls were demolished centuries ago. The reservoir would have been accessed through a hole in the plaza floor, which is under the rocks
Israeli archaeologists believe the reservoir served the public in the ancient city, but say its location hints at a role in the religious life of Jerusalem.
Tvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist of Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, said: 'Presumably 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.
'In addition, we can see the hand prints of the plasters left behind when they were adding the finishing touches to the plaster walls, just like in the water reservoirs of Tel Beersheba, Tel Arad and Tel Beit Shemesh, which also date to the First Temple period.'
Archaeologists were working on the floor of another underground waterway when they broke through and discovered the cistern about four months ago.
The population of Jerusalem would have accessed the water with baskets from a hole in the roof that led to the plaza at the wall of the temple area.
Excavation director Eli Shukron said the reservoir sheds new light on the extent of the public water system in Jerusalem hundreds of years ago.
He said: 'It is now absolutely clear that the Jerusalem's water consumption during the First Temple period was not solely based on the output of the Gihon Spring, but that it also relied on public reservoirs.'
Spiritual centre: Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine, occupies the former site of the First Temple, built by Solomon
The Gihon Spring was the main source of water for the city.
The reservoir was exposed during excavations on a massive drainage channel dating to the Second Temple period, according to the IAA.
When that channel was constructed, its builders had to remove or cut through existing rock-hewn structures along the route, such as this reservoir.
Archaeologists said they were able to estimate the age of the cistern based on signatures in its plaster treatment and its similarities with other First Temple reservoirs.
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Takungan 3,000 tahun ditemui di BaitulmuqaddisBAITULMUQADDIS - Beberapa pakar arkeologi menemui sebuah takungan air kuno di sini yang digunakan oleh jemaah semasa ke kota suci bangsa Yahudi, Temple Mount atau dikenali sebagai Haram Ash-Sharif oleh orang Islam.
Akhbar MailOnline melaporkan bahawa takungan yang dinamakan cistern itu boleh menyimpan sebanyak 250 kubik meter air.
Tempat simpanan air itu dipercayai dibina pada era Tempat Ibadat Pertama sekitar 3,000 tahun dahulu.
Menurut kitab Bangsa Yahudi, Tempat Ibadat Pertama dibina oleh Nabi Sulaiman pada kurun ke-10 sebelum masihi (S.M.) sebelum dimusnahkan 400 tahun kemudian.
"Penemuan ini menjelaskan bahawa sumber air pada era Tempat Ibadat Pertama bukan sahaja bergantung kepada mata air tempatan tetapi juga takungan awam," kata ketua ahli arkeologi Pihak Berkuasa Alam Semulajadi dan Taman Israel, Tvika Tsuk.
Menurutnya, tapak Tempat Ibadat Pertama yang dibina oleh Nabi Sulaiman kini berada di bawah Dome of the Rock atau Masjid Kubah Emas di sini. - Agensi