Observations on the Ancient Tunnel Recently Discovered in Jerusalem

Norman Golb

Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Recent media reports have described the discovery, by a team led by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, of an "escape hatch" or "drainage tunnel" under the main street of ancient Jerusalem. The archaeologists featured in the report are to be congratulated for their underground discovery, as are those news writers responsible for calling it to the public's attention.

The Associated Press report of 9 Sept. '07 (by Amy Teibel), upon which most of the news accounts are based, specifies that, two weeks earlier, archaeologists discovered the tunnel while searching for the city's main road. Dr. Shukron is quoted as saying that workmen engaged in the search "happened upon a small drainage channel that led to the discovery of the massive tunnel...." The same report states that "the walls of the tunnel ... reach a height of 10 feet in some places," and a photograph of the site would appear to confirm that, while not necessarily ten feet high throughout, it was high enough to accommodate many people in an upright position.