Biblical Archaeology Review 35:3, May/June 2009

This Place Is for the Birds

New Testament tower?

By Boaz Zissu

Surely one of the most exciting moments in the life of a Biblical archaeologist is finding something that seems to illuminate the Biblical text. The recent discovery of the Siloam Pool where, according to John 9:1–7, Jesus cured a man who had been blind from birth, is certainly one prime example.

Cheek-by-jowl to the newly discovered Siloam Pool at the southern end of the City of David, a 12-acre ridge south of Jerusalem’s Old City, is another find that has been associated with the New Testament: a circle of stones 20 feet in circumference, resting on bedrock. When it was discovered in December 1913 by French archaeologist Raymond Weill, it rose to a height of 5 feet. Today some of the stones have been robbed, but the basic outline is still clear. Weill suggested that the tower was part of a fortification system higher up the slope.

When discovered, it was built of roughly hewn field stones, large and small, and bonded with gray mortar. It was carefully plastered on the exterior right down to the sloping bedrock on which it was built.

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