The Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel National Parks Authority, and the City of David Foundation (Elad) are pleased to announce the commencement of the excavation of the historic Shiloah Pool in Jerusalem.

The Siloam Pool, located in the southern portion of the City of David and within the area of the Jerusalem Walls National Park, is an archaeological and historical site of national and international significance. The Pool was first constructed as part of Jerusalem’s water system in the 8th Century BCE, during the reign of King Hezekiah, as described in the Bible in the Book of Kings II, 20:20,  “Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made the Pool, and the conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of Chronicles of the kings of Judah”.

The pool served as the reservoir for the waters of the Gihon Spring, which were diverted through an underground Siloam Tunnel, and it was therefore already considered one of the most important areas in Jerusalem in the First Temple period.

Due to its significance, the Siloam Pool was renovated and expanded at the end of the Second Temple period. It is believed that the Pool was used during this time as a ritual bath by the vast number of pilgrims who came from all over Israel and the world to Jerusalem, before ascending to the Temple.

Throughout the years, many traditions have been associated with the Siloam Pool. Already since the end of the 19th century, it has been a focal point for archaeological expeditions from all over the world. In the 1890s, a British-American archaeological team led by Frederick Jones Bliss and Archibald Campbell Dickie arrived at the site and uncovered some of the steps of the Siloam Pool, and in the late 1960s, the British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon excavated at the site.

The northern section of the Shiloah Pool (Koby Harati, City of David)- ENG
The northern section of the Shiloah Pool (Koby Harati, City of David) - ENG

About 140 years ago, several tens of meters from the pool, the famous Siloam Inscription was discovered, which describes the process of excavating the Siloam Tunnel and diverting the water from the Gihon Spring to the Siloam Pool. In 2004, during infrastructure work carried out by the Hagihon water company, several steps of the pool were rediscovered. As a result, the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted a systematic excavation under the direction of Prof. Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron. During the excavation, the northern part of the Siloam Pool and a small part of its eastern side were uncovered. The sides were constructed as steps on which people could sit and immerse themselves in the water. According to estimates, the pool went through different stages of development, but at the height of its glory, its size was about 5 dunams, and it was covered with an impressive stone structure. For the first time in history, the entire Siloam Pool will be exposed, within the context of an archeological excavation carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority.  In the first stage, visitors will be able to observe the archaeological excavations, and in the coming months, the Siloam Pool will be opened to visitor traffic from Israel and around the world as part of a walking route that will begin at the southernmost point of the City of David and culminate at the footsteps of the Western Wall.