Biblical Archaeology Review 36:5, September/October 2010

The Fault Beneath Their Feet

By Ram WeinbergerAmihai SnehEyal Shalev

Water was critical in ancient Israel (as it is today). This was especially true in time of siege because cities were usually located on higher spots (that rose higher and higher as the tell developed over time) and the springs were outside the city walls at the bottom of the hill, exposed to the enemy.

The usual ancient solution to this situation was to dig a vertical shaft (with steps to climb down) inside the city and at the bottom to dig a tunnel sloping downward to the spring outside the city wall. Still, the residents would be vulnerable if the enemy found the spring outside the city wall despite its protection and camouflage.a

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