Archaeologists have made a significant discovery in Jerusalem, finding an ancient water reservoir they think may have been used by pilgrims.
The cistern is said to have been capable of holding 66,000 gallons of water and Israeli archaeologists think the reservoir served the general public but also, because of its location, played a role in religious life and served pilgrims heading to the Temple Mount.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the discovery and its excavation director Eli Shukron thinks it reveals more about the extent of the public water system in Jerusalem hundreds of years ago.
"It is now absolutely clear that Jerusalem's water consumption during the First Temple period was not solely based on the output of the Gihon Spring, but that it also relied on public reservoirs," he said.
The reservoir is thought to date back to the era of the First Temple, which the Hebrew Bible states was constructed by King Solomon in the 10th century BC and destroyed 400 years later.
Archaeology chief Tvika Tsuk agrees with the theory it was used by the public and pilgrims alike.
"Presumably the large water reservoir, which is situated near the Temple Mount, was used for the everyday activities of the Temple Mount itself and also by the pilgrims who went up to the temple and required water for bathing and drinking," said the chief archaeologist of Israel's Nature and Parks Authority.
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