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Israeli Archaeologists Discovered Persian Waterworks in Ancient Judea


05 September 2006




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LONDON, (CAIS) -- Archaeologists in Israel have unearthed an ancient water system which was modified by the Persians to turn the desert into a paradise.

The network of reservoirs, drain pipes and underground tunnels served one of the grandest palaces in the biblical kingdom of Judea.

Archaeologists first discovered the palace in 1954, a structure built on a six-acre (2.4 hectare) site where the communal Ramat Rachel farm now stands.

Recent excavations unearthed nearly 70 square meters (750 square feet) of a unique water system.

"They had found a huge palace ... even nicer than the palaces in Jerusalem, (dating) from the late Iron Age to the end of the biblical period in the 7th century," Oded Lipschits, a Tel Aviv University archaeologist, said.

The infrastructure of the palace was remodeled throughout the centuries to fit the needs of the Babylonians, Achaemenids, Romans Sasanians, and Hasmoneans who ruled the region, said Lipschits, who heads the dig with an academic from Germany's University of Heidelberg.

But it was the Achaemenid-Persians, who took control of the region around 539 BCE from the Babylonians, who renovated the water system and turned it into a thing of beauty.

Lipschits said they added small waterfalls to try to turn a desert into a paradise.

"Imagine on this land plants and water rushing and streaming here," Lipschits said. "This was important to someone who finds aesthetics important, for someone who wanted to feel as though they are not just in some remote corner in the desert."

Yuval Gadot, a biblical archaeology expert from Tel Aviv University who is taking part in the excavation, said it was unclear exactly how the water system worked.

"Probably rainwater came down on the roof of the houses (in the palace complex)," he said. "From there, it was collected by drains into pools or to the underground reservoir and taken to nearby fields for crops or nice gardens."

For centuries water supplies have been one of the most sensitive issues in the Middle East, where most of the region is desert.


Extracted From/Source: Reuters - August 23, 2006 - by Corinne Heller

Please note the above-news is NOT a "copy & paste" version from the mentioned-source. The news/article above has been modified with the following interventions by CAIS: Spelling corrections; -Rectification and correction of the historical facts and data; - Providing additional historical information within the text; -Removing any unnecessary, irrelevant & repetitive information.

     All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the published news provided by CAIS is coherent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.




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