The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Israel National Parks Authority and the City of David Foundation announced on Tuesday the commencement of the complete excavation of  Jerusalem’s ancient Siloam Pool.

The Pool, located in the southern portion of the City of David National Park, was constructed some 2,700 years ago during the reign of King Hezekiah, as described in the Book of Kings. It served as the reservoir for the Gihon Spring, and was considered one of the most important areas in Jerusalem during the First Temple period.

The site was renovated and expanded some 2,000 years ago at the end of the Second Temple period, and is believed to have been used during this time as a ritual bath (mikveh) by pilgrims to the Temple.

In the 1890s, a group of British and American archaeologists led by Frederick Jones Bliss and Archibald Campbell Dickey uncovered some of Pool’s steps, and in the 1960s British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon excavated the site.

In 2004, the IAA excavated the Pool’s northern perimeter and a small portion of the eastern perimeter. The new excavation will completely expose the site, according to Tuesday’s announcement.

Visitors will be able to observe the excavations, and in the coming months the site will be opened to tourists.

“The Pool of Siloam in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem is a site of historic, national and international significance. After many years of anticipation, we will soon merit being able to uncover this important site and make it accessible to the millions of visitors visiting Jerusalem each year,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.

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