Ronny Reich, Israel Antiquities Authority

Courses of cyclopean stones—measuring up to 6 by 3 by 3 feet—form a huge tower (behind the man) that protected ancient Jerusalem’s water supply. Built in the Middle Bronze Age II (18th to 17th century B.C.E.), when Jerusalem was a small walled city of 10 or 11 acres, the tower lies just west of the Gihon Spring, on the eastern slope of the City of David. Water from the spring collected in a deep pool in the narrow shaft (at left) beside the tower, which the excavators have dubbed the Pool Tower.

The tower was discovered during a rescue excavation conducted before work began on a new Visitors’ Center beside the spring, a popular tourist attraction. The discovery of this tower and other fortifications around the spring not only offers a new understanding of how the Jerusalemites obtained water from the Gihon Spring, but will also require revision of our understanding of how David’s general Joab may have gained access to Jerusalem through its water system to capture the city.