Hershel Shanks

A SIGN OF THE TIMES. Those who object to Weill’s identification of T1 as a royal First Temple period tomb point out that several features in the tunnel are datable to the Second Temple period, including traces of a black-gray mortar found near the grooves on the walls of the lower level, as well as triangular niches cut into the wall likely to hold oil lamps. These scholars suggest that the tunnels were cisterns or basements of Second Temple period homes. While these “tombs” may have functioned in this way as part of later Second Temple period structures, this does not preclude their original function as tombs in an earlier period—perhaps as part of a royal necropolis.