- Recent Excavations Near the Gihon Spring and Their Reflection on the Character of Iron II Jerusalem
- The Monumentality of Iron Age Jerusalem Prior to the 8th Century BCE
- Absolute Dating of the Gihon Spring Fortifications, Jerusalem
Accumulating evidence from excavations around the City of David has allowed me to construct an evidence based proof that aligns with the origin of religious practices and Biblical history. For practical reasons the earliest settlements on Mount Moriah were established around the same height, above sea level as the source of water at the Gihon Spring. Religious devotees developed methods to transport water, 50 meters up a 25 degree slope to a height 30 meters above the spring to a site now known as 'Temple Zero'. These early populations buried their dead higher up the hill, 60 meters above the spring. As the population expanded, daily demands required water to be hauled at least 150-200 meters from the spring, up the ~25 degree slope to a height 60+ meters above the spring. These laborious methods lasted for a 1000 years from ~4000-3000 BCE until King Solomon improved supply to the upper city.
It's important to understand two maps of the most relevant areas and the Anchors 1-4 that Uziel uses to establish dates.
|Gihon Spring (@635m above sea level)|
|W108 (@657m above sea level)|
Uziel Map - Anchor 3 Rock-cut-Quarry (red outline)
- note orientation of boulders in green.
|Anchor 1, Wall 3 bedrock @660m above sea level)|
|Anchor 1, Wall 3A (looking north) and B returning|
to abut the bedrock below Wall 1- a very narrow trench
|Parker Tunnel XIX looking north to Wall 4 of Section 11|
note the west-east slope of the bedrock at the gate
|Room 3 is 'G' and 4 is 'H' on Parker Map above|
On Uziel Map 'G' denotes the entire four room complex- referred as Temple Zero
|Looking down (east) the excavated slope from 'G'|
|Passage connecting 'G' and 'P' (note the iron stairs at back -east of image)|
|Cave dwelling 'K' on Uziel Map and Parker Map|
|Looking north to 'P'|
(iron stairs connect 'P' passage to 'G' above)
|Anchor 3, Rock-Cut-Quarry once considered to be a pool|
looking to southwest corner (note bedrock slope and line cut in quarry)
|Anchor 3, Rock-Cut-Quarry - note boulders accumulated in south-west corner|
(top-right) especially under the platform (next image).
Also note the Round Chamber in the bottom left of image.
Challenging Uziel, the scattered positions of the heavy boulders (see Uziel Map) suggest they did not all originate and roll from W109 (the south section of the double wall with W108). More likely they fell from the passages between and north, adjacent of area 'G' and 'P', which rise to a height ~5m above the west rim of the stone-cut quarry. There is no reason to believe these heavy boulders could physically roll from W109 at the far north west face of the quarry to accumulate as they have in its south west corner.
|Bedrock @636m above sea level|
|Highlighted boulders during excavation (now under the platform) in south-west corner|
make the point they were unlikely to originate from W109
|As proposed by Reich a floating wooden floor may have once existed in the quarry.|
A floor would explain the absence of evidence under boulders
The findings generally agree with carbon dating analysis conducted under Uziel's direction at two locations (Wall 104) on the north-eastern corner of Anchor 4 of the Spring House Tower (see next map)
|North-East Corner at Wall 104 and Wall 105 (Bedrock @634m above sea level).|
Take note of the Round Chamber in the Rock-Cut-Quarry
|Anchor 4, North East Corner of Spring Tower|
A little south of the quarry in Area E excavations, under Floor L1631/1635 of Stratum 17B abutted City Wall 285. Fill L1654A/1656A comprised the fill beneath the floor which also abutted Wall 285 (De Groot and Bernick-Greenberg 2012) The floor yielded MB II pottery, including one complete, and two partly complete storage jars (Eisenberg 2012). The extensive settlement at area E indicates an initial preference to be located @~640m above sea level near level with the water source at the Gihon (@634m above sea level) as opposed to flatter part of the mid-Mount Moriah ridge @680-690m above sea level.
|Topographical Map for Sea Level and Excavations Areas|
We can be certain, that before the bedrock was quarried the natural slope enabled access across the escarpment see the blue arrow (map below), only in both directions. At that time, at the blunt end of the arrow (the north end) there was an entry to a series of natural or caustic caves. (Ronny Reich explains).
|Natural path over escarpment coincides with Round Chamber|
|Looking North East |
The Round Chamber Jerusalem's first water depo
|Round Chamber Plan (looking north)|
The Gihon Spring once gushed its waters every 6-8 hours, it did not run constantly like it does today, so the occupants had every incentive to dam its waters to hold and collect it for future use. The engineering problem was always complicated by the low level of the spring in relation to the valley floor where any rising waters in the springs natural cave would have been expelled. The challenge for the earliest populations on Mount Moriah to control water was intensive until Solomon redesigned the water supply and Hezekiah channeled the Gihon waters, under the mountain to the lower parts of the city. Until Solomon water from the Gihon would have been a major constraint on growth. Bottling Gihon water and moving it 200 meters up a 20+ degree slope from @635m to @685m above sea level would have required constant application of labor, skillful enterprise and economic control.
Therefore, access at the Round Chamber was initially the most convenient point for locals to draw water each day. The dwellings they occupied initially would have been most conveniently located to the water source, but as the populations expanded to the flat upper ridge, moving water up the eastern slope would have become semi-industrialized and eventually controlled by local rulers on Mount Moriah. It's quite conceivable this industrialization of 'bottled' water may have lasted 1000 years and the shortest distances between transportation points would have become the most controlled routes. The quarry may be tied to control over these water routes. The MBII development of W108/109 Fortified Passage and access above Warren's Shaft to the upper tunnel, where water could be hauled 50-100 meters and from a height @635m-@680m above sea level may have been the demands of the first populous on the habitable levels higher up the mountain. In Early Bronze periods the upper part of the mountain was mainly used as burial grounds for important people who had passed on as evidenced by numerous burial caves and artifacts.
Control over water distribution routes may have motivated construction also to enhance efficiency. The original transport route into the upper tunnel, immediately above Warren's Shaft was eventually blocked off (the wall can be seen behind Ronny Reich in the video below) because the floor had collapsed and the new route through the fortified passage had to be secured.
We can now imagine how the industrialization of 'bottled' water may have motivated a 1000 year struggle for control over the water industry. This would support the construction of a wooden platform in the quarry above the Round Chamber to manage water that had surged from the Gihon, to bottle it and dispatch it where it was hauled through the inner chambers of Mount Moriah for daily distribution to growing populations further up the mountain. With this we can return to determinations that date Wall 108/9 and Wall 3 to the collapse of the tunnel floor somewhere toward the end of MBII and the early part of the Late Bronze Age. Further we can now conceive Wall 3 as a component of Wall 108 that blocked access to Parker Tunnel XIX and secured entry to the water distribution routes from higher up the mountain. Construction of wall 108 and 109 may also have been motivated by political insecurity including Israels rising out of Egypt in 1313 BCE and the prospect that could threaten control of Mount Moriah if Israel sought to return to their indigenous sites.
It suggests the construction of the quarry and implementation of its wooden platform would have actively shielded the bedrock from accumulating any further significant evidence between Stratum 10 and 7 which only accumulated after it was dismantled in the mid to late Iron Age. In the intervening periods after King Solomon redesigned the city's water supply to come from the north and west so the utility of the Round Chamber's water industry and the Kidron Valley slowly waned. By the time the First Temple was destroyed, the quarry and lower slopes around the Gihon were used mainly for industries other than bottling water.
Wall 3 and W108 establish an earlier dating of the four room complex that had previously been abandoned, but perhaps the saddest loss from industrialization was the connection from early cave dwelling 'K' and passage 'P' that connected to 'G', in a Middle Bronze Age II A ~2000-1800 BCE. In these times the rudimentary rooms 1-4 of Temple Zero would have regularly received the lower waters, hauled from the Gihon Spring to serve the ancient practices of MalchiTzedek, the Just King (or High Priest of Shalem) who was dedicated to a monotheistic God and to whom Abraham, known as the father of monotheism tithed his wealth.