Sections of the earliest phase of the Shiloah Pool are being uncovered next to the city wall and below the staircase of the Shiloah Pool dating to the Second Temple period.
These remains, which probably date to the time of the First Temple, are mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah (3:15): "And he built the wall of the Pool of Shelah of the king’s garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David." The excavations are being carried out in the City of David National Park, under the direction of Eli Shukron of the Antiquities Authority and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, with funding provided by the El’ad Association and under the auspices of East Jerusalem Development Corporation.
In the continuation of the excavations being conducted in the recently discovered Shiloah Pool, dating to the Second Temple period, a section of the bottom of the pool was exposed, as well as the line of the dam and the fortification that closes off the pool located beneath the steps of the Second Temple period pool. Based on the stratigraphy and nature of the discoveries, it seems that these are the pool, the line of the dam and the fortifications that date to the First Temple period.
In addition, the excavators discovered how the steps of the Second Temple period pool were constructed – the eastern staircase is founded on top of a plastered vault characteristic of the Second Temple period. Two strata were discerned in the stairs descending to the pool: the upper level consists of a stone pavement and the level below it is a layer of plaster. The Second Temple period aqueduct was discovered between the steps and the bedrock cliff at the southern end of the spur of the City of David. In the upper middle part of the pool’s northern staircase a smaller pool was exposed through which the aqueduct passes. A complex system of drainage channels, some of which predate the Second Temple period, was also discovered in this region.
Northwest of the pool part an open plaza from the time of the Second Temple period was exposed that leads to the pool and connects the street previously uncovered by Bliss and Dickie with the pool. Passage to the open plaza is by way of a stoa of which several columns were preserved; one of the columns bears an engraved inscription. The plaza is paved with impressive stone slabs similar to the pavement of the street that runs parallel and adjacent to the western wall of the Temple Mount. A clover-shaped drainage opening was discovered in the pavement.