Israel Exploration Society

In 1977, while removing fill from the vaulted structure, Avigad discovered a monumental Greek inscription molded in gray plaster on the wall 25 feet above the floor. Inscribed in a tabula ansata atop a cross, the red-painted text celebrated the work of the emperor Justinian and the abbot Constantine, who were responsible for the transformation of the structure into a water reservoir. In the photo, Avigad (far right) examines the inscription with staff members Hillel Geva (left) and Shlomo Margalit (middle).