The tunnel. EEEEKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!
Kidding. It wasn't scary.
Okay fine, it was a little bit scary.
More claustrophobic than scary really. And really really really dark.
There was actually a couple that approached us at the entrance and asked if they could come with us through the tunnel. They didn't bring flashlights (duh people!) and they had tried to go through without light. They freaked out a little ways in and groped their way back out and found us. It is pitch black in there.
Here, I'll show you:
See what I mean?
Here's a little history, shocking, i know.
It was dug 700 years BC by King Hezekiah. He was preparing Jerusalem for the impending siege by the Assyrians and decided to bring the water inside the city walls. So they started digging from both ends. Up at the spring and down by the pool. , By some miracle, they ended up meeting in the middle, although you can see several places along that way where they made corrections in bearing.
You have to climb down quite a bit and can see the old building structure:
(Dixie heading into the abyss)
It is quite narrow, but i don't blame them for not wanting to dig anymore.
At some places the ceiling is very high:
(sorry, really blew this pic out so you could see the ceiling)
And at others, very low:
Somewhere in the middle-ish (no clue where I was) archeologists found a stone plaque:
It is called the Shiloah Inscription and was written 2700 years ago! I find that very cool. It's written in Hebrew and tells how the tunnel was made. Pretty sweet engineering for 2700 ago.
Can you tell by our faces that we were happy to reach the end?
It was very hot and very humid and very...tunnely :-)
So when you come out at the bottom you dump into this:
Which they used to think was the Pool of Siloam.
But they later discovered the actual pool and figure this is just a little conduit area.
This is what the pool originally looked like:
This is it now:
You can still see the step leading down but most of the pool is covered by a mound of dirt.
So the water was safe and the city could hunker down and wait out invaders. Ingenious. And a very cool tunnel. And so great that you can walk through and experience something that old.
Ooh ooh! I almost forgot.
At the bottom where the tunnel comes out they recently discovered stone steps heading up the hill. They've started excavating and have found an ancient road/walkway and drainage canal heading back up to the Temple Mount. Well. The road it heading up...the canal is coming down :-)
Here is what they are guessing at:
It's not open to the public yet...but i didn't let that stop me!
Have I ever mentioned that I'm not super smart? It's true.
Roley said I could go take a peek...so I did...and in my world "peek" translates to hiking halfway up the hill in an archeological dig tunnel...that is not open to the public.
But it was so cool!!! Those steps were 2000+ years old!
This is the entrance, I wasn't supposed to go past that door up there.
This is way past the door...
It's still very narrow, they haven't gotten far. This really is a brand new dig.
I could faintly hear someone screaming my name and reluctantly turned back.
I really think that I could be very happy with a pick and a brush, digging in the dirt all day. Anyone want to hire me?