Daily Israel Report

Science And Bible Meet

First Publish: 9/17/2003, 7:24 PM

Jerusalem's Shiloah Spring Tunnel, or Siloam Tunnel, has been radiocarbon-dated to around 700 BC - in confirmation of the Biblical account. The London-based Nature journal reported the finding on Sept. 11, noting that the half-kilometer tunnel, which today carries the name of its builder, King Hezekiah of Judea, still carries water from the Gihon Spring into Jerusalem's ancient City of David. Hebrew University geologist Amos Frumkin and colleagues looked at the decay of radioactive elements in plants and stalactites in tunnel samples, and came up with a study that archaeologist Henrik Bruins of Ben-Gurion University says "makes the tunnel's age certain."

According to Kings II 20 and Chronicles II 32, the tunnel was built to protect the city's water supply against an imminent Assyrian siege. "The tunnel was a major technological achievement," said Frumkin. "It's one of the most ancient structures that's still in use." It is also one of the longest ancient water tunnels without intermediate shafts.