hezekiah's tunnel

Regarding Recent Suggestions Redating the Siloam Tunnel

A web-exclusive discussion by Aren Maeir and Jeffrey Chadwick

An article published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (the research journal widely known as BASOR) proposed a new understanding and dating of Jerusalem’s famous Siloam Tunnel, perhaps better known as “Hezekiah’s Tunnel.”
The Siloam Tunnel.
The study by geologists Amihai Sneh, Eyal Shalev and Ram Weinberger, all with the Geological Survey of Israel, was titled “The Why, How, and When of the Siloam Tunnel Reevaluated.”1 Having examined the ancient water tunnel, the three authors suggest that it was excavated following existing karstic cavities (hollows that form through the dissolution of natural bedrock by mildly acidic ground waters). An important statement made in the article is that it would have taken the ancient workmen about four years to dig the 533-meter tunnel.
In a surprising departure from prevailing thought, the authors assert that the water tunnel could not have been constructed during the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah, in the late eighth century B.C.E., and particularly not in preparation for the Assyrian attack on Judah in 701 B.C.E. According to their understanding, there was not enough time to quarry out the impressive water system during Hezekiah’s preparations for the Assyrian onslaught. Accordingly, they suggest that the Siloam Tunnel was constructed later, in the seventh century B.C.E., by Hezekiah’s son Manasseh. 2
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