GUIDED BY WINDING WATERS. The circuitous path of Hezekiah’s Tunnel—a 1,750-foot rock-hewn water tunnel that leads from the Gihon Spring, under the City of David, to the Siloam Pool on the southwest side—has long baffled experts, particularly a semicircular “loop” near the southern end. Why did the team of tunnelers starting from the southern end and going northeast from the pool swerve southeast to form a large arc before then turning north again to meet the other team that started from the spring? In the late 19th century, famous French diplomat and explorer Charles Clermont-Ganneau suggested that the tunnelers dug this loop to avoid disturbing the burial grounds of the Davidic kings, which the Bible clearly locates at the southern end of the city.

Within a couple of decades, Baron Edmond de Rothschild had purchased land in this area of the City of David so that excavations could test this hypothesis.