Hershel Shanks

Unknown to history until 1880 and now once again largely hidden from view, the Siloam Inscription today languishes in an area of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum usually closed to the general public. Incised in paleo-Hebrew lettering, the inscription describes the moment when two independent teams of diggers met up with each other to complete the 1,750-foot tunnel built by the Judahite King Hezekiah to enable Jerusalem to withstand a siege by the Assyrian ruler Sennacherib. The time has come, writes BAR editor Hershel Shanks, for Turkey to return the inscription to its rightful home.