Finally, Reich & Shukron make some attempt to deal with the biblical passages often cited as referrring to the Siloam Tunnel and ascribing that project to King Hezekiah.In the case of 2 Kings — how Hezekiah (NASB) — the authors simply note that the verse does not mention any specific location.
I am not at liberty to reproduce the article or any of its graphics, but I will try to summarize Reich’s and Shukron’s new findings and conclusions and weave in enough background that it all makes some sense.
First, the following map gives a sense of the general location of some of the elements under discussion: City of David Walls & Water Systems. Note: What Reich and Shukron were calling the “Pool Tower” in 1999 was re-interprted a few years ago as a fortified east-west corridor leading to the Rock-Cut Pool.
This space they partially excavated , supporting the unexcavated material overhead with wooden framing, and dubbed it the “Round Chamber” (a term Reich & Shukron have now revived).
Incidentally, this space still existed and was seen by Israeli archaeologists in the 1970s; it later collapsed, and the wooden elements were found in Reich & Shukron’s excavation of the pool, digging from above.
The authors’ recent excavations in the City of David near the Gihon Spring and the northern end of the tunnel have yielded new archaeological data that bear on the date of the construction of the tunnel and the incising of the inscription.
Their evaluation of these data suggests that the completion of the tunnel should be set back several decades to at least the early part of the 8th century BCE, which would mean that the tunnel predates Hezekiah’s reign..One of the themes I like to employ when showing people the wonders of the City of David’s ancient water systems (yes, plural — perhaps even more so now!) is the many mysteries surrounding those spaces: unanswered questions about how, when and why some of the elements were constructed — and how they even worked!In their article, Reich and Shukron actually expand the standard nomenclature referring to the various parts of the water system.On a graphic from several years ago (again, from BAR), below, I have highlighted in color the passages the authors are focussing on, and re-labelled certain elements with the new terms (new to me, at least).This brings us to Reich & Shukron’s most striking new proposal: a re-dating of the Siloam Tunnel – and therefore of the famous Siloam Inscription – to the late 9th/early 8th century BC, thus breaking the longstanding association of both with the reign of King Hezekiah almost a century later. First, they have arrived at a particular understanding of the tunnel was built: that the northern team of diggers did not start from the spring itself but rather from the bottom of the Round Chamber, creating Tunnel IV.