Garo Nalbandian

Tunnel to nowhere. The 2-foot-deep, rectangular indentation at right in the photo is one of three so-called false starts in Hezekiah’s tunnel. Located near the meeting point—the place near the middle where the tunnelers from each end joined—the false starts still defy confident explanation. Each false start stands beside a bend (the tunnel turns to the left in this photo), suggesting that they may be branches in the natural conduit that the tunnelers followed briefly before discovering their mistake. Author Dan Gill, however, noting the finished walls of the false starts, suggests that the tunnelers deliberately created these niches to provide room for two-way traffic in the narrow tunnel. Gill admits that his explanation does not account for the lack of such niches elsewhere in the tunnel.