Become a Partner

The work at the tunnels continues. The next day we brought in a generator and a water pump to drain the water that had accumulated in Tunnel Two. The water gathers there over time whenever it rains because there is a wadi in the cliffs above.

It took most of the afternoon to empty the underground “lake" of its water, and before it was over we estimate that two to three thousand gallons were pumped out.

Below you can see the generator and the pumps used to empty Tunnel Two of water and some of the volunteers that helped to run the pipes and electric.

That afternoon, Oren spent much of his time deep in Tunnel Two moving the pump/pipes to new locations to more efficiently remove the water. Covered from head to toe, it was a muddy job as you can see (right):

Meanwhile, in Tunnel One, we started the remote sensing using ground penetrating radar. Much of the rubble and more specifically, the larger boulder-sized rocks from the original excavation remained at the end of the tunnel because they were too difficult or time consuming to remove (after reaching the end of the tunnel, there was little sense in removing them).

Since one of our objectives was to do remote sensing on the floor, this debris had to be moved to another area of the tunnel. In doing so, three evenly shaped uniform slabs were discovered under the rubble, and under these “cover stones” was what appeared to be a cavity or opening.

When the ground penetrating radar was brought in, it did in fact reveal an open cavity under the stones, and below that, there was more of what we would refer to as loose fill (the same as that which had originally filled the entire tunnel).

Near the end of the video below, when the camera re-focuses from the person to the floor, you can see the clear distinct edges of the "cover stones” (very end of the video):

The two questions we had to answer were:

1) Did the cavity contain any significant artifacts? and/or:

2) Did the opening below the slabs lead to another, as yet unexplored part of the tunnel?

Unfortunately, by then, it was nearing 4PM so the answers to the above questions would have to wait. Everything needed to be packed for the return home before it got too dark. Since it was Thursday, we would now have to wait until the following week before getting answers to our questions (pictures of this work will be provided in the next update).

We will aim to send the next update by the end of the week. Until then, check out the unusual cloud formations that were overhead that day. Most unusual


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Excavations in the Judean Desert

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Update 1 - February 2020