An archeology team digging at Tel Gezer team, under the direction of the NOBTS Center for Archaeological Research, has discovered a previously unknown water system in the eastern section of a large cave. The length of the system is still unknown but future plans to map its length are under way.
The discovery marks a major milestone in the seminary’s three-year exploration at Gezer and sets the stage for future research. The breakthrough is valuable in understanding the cultural context in which the Bible was written.
The site is mentioned numerous times in the Bible including in 1 Kings 9 when the city was given to Solomon by the Egyptian pharaoh. Solomon rebuilt and fortified the city with a massive wall and unique gate system.
The dig leaders believe the rock-hewn water tunnel was cut by the Canaanite occupants of Gezer between 2000 and 1800 B.C. — around the time of Abraham. Other scholars date the system to the time of the Divided Kingdom after Solomon.
A small dig team broke into the cavern at about 8 a.m. on June 12. What they found was a large, wedge-shaped open area of the cave measuring 26 feet wide by 30 feet long and reaching a height of nearly seven feet at its highest point down to only a few inches at its lowest.
The surface inside is covered with a thin layer of cracked mud similar to what one would find in a dry pond or lake bed. The chamber also contains large boulders of chalk that have broken free from the cave roof. The roof, which slopes up at a 45-degree angle, seems relatively sound.
The latest discovery could help archeologists date the Tel Gezer water system and understand how it works, which would offer valuable information to students of the Bible.