Monday, September 10, 2007

MidEasT: Urban Planning 2,000 years ago!

Shades of the game"Adventure" !

2,000 years ago, the designers of the city of Jerusalem dug a drainage channel under Jerusalem.

The channel was dug beneath what would become the main road of Jerusalem.

The Israel Antiquities Authority, said excavators looking for the road happened upon a small drainage channel that led them to the discovery of the massive tunnel two weeks ago.

"We were looking for the road and suddenly we discovered it," Shukron said. "And the first thing we said was, 'Wow.'"

The walls of the tunnel made of stones 3 feet deep reach a height of 10 feet in some places and are covered by heavy slabs that were the road's paving stones, Shukron said. Several manholes are visible, and portions of the original plastering remain, he said.

Pottery shards, vessel fragments and coins from the end of the Second Temple period were also discovered inside the channel, attesting to its age, Reich said.

The discovery of the drainage channel was momentous in itself, a sign of how the city's rulers looked out for the welfare of their citizens by developing an infrastructure that drained the rainfall and prevented flooding, Reich said.

The discovery "shows you planning on a grand scale, unlike other cities in the ancient Near East," said Joe Zias, an expert in the Second Temple period who was not involved in the dig.

But what makes the channel doubly significant is its role as an escape hatch for Jews desperate to flee the conquering Romans, the dig's directors said. `

As Jerusalem was being conquered by the Romans in 70 A.D., numerous people took shelter in the drainage channel and lived inside it until they fled Jerusalem through its southern end, the historian Josephus Flavius wrote in "The War of the Jews." (who by the way was what is called an apostate (a Jew who converted!)

"It was a place where people hid and fled to from burning, destroyed Jerusalem," Shukron said.

Tens of thousands of people lived in Jerusalem at the time, but it is not clear how many used the channel to escape, he said.

About 100 yards of the channel have been uncovered so far. Archeologists think the tunnel leads to the Kidron River, which empties into the Dead Sea.

Mark here again...

Not only did the city have the water tunnel, but a drainage tunnel too?

1 comment:

cheryl said...

Fascinating! I think it played a role in "The Source" (Michener)