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Ancient Water System Discovered Near Ramat Bet Shemesh

a counselor from the Israel Antiquities Authority and a student from the Paran preparatory program inside the well. (Photo: IAA/ASHERNET)

An ancient well was discovered from the Ottoman period by Israel Antiquities Authority as construction continues to widen a major highway in the area near Ramat Bet Shemesh.

This well joins a series of wells that have been documented over the years along Route 38. They are not very difficult to discern, because of the palm trees that grow around them and the fact that they are surrounded by thick, flourishing aquatic flora. This sight, in fact, preserves one of the physical characteristics of the road and contributes to the reconstruction of the ancient landscape in the lower Judean hills.

According to Michal Haber, Excavation Director on behalf of the IAA, “Route 38, which connects ShaŹ½ar Ha-Gai with Beit Guvrin, is today one of the country’s main longitudinal arteries. It in fact constitutes a corridor that links the north of Israel with the south, and it was this way during the course of many periods in the country’s history. Throughout the generations sites, villages, farms and monasteries were built along this artery, and roadside stations prospered between them. We believe that wells such as the one we exposed were installed at various times in order to meet the needs of the public traveling on the road and the people who resided alongside it. The latter were careful to maintain the wells as an exclusive source of fresh water and by means of sophisticated engineering methods they prevented these sources from drying up.”

Tags: Facts and Findings

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