Ancient Technology in the Bible: Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Hezekiah's Tunnel, photo credit: Tamar Hayardeni

Hezekiah’s Tunnel נקבת השילוח see the clear water he’s wading through? photo credit: Tamar Hayardeni

And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? II Kings 20:20

When I was a girl I heard that they had found the “conduit” this verse talks about under the old city of Jerusalem.  My mom told me how they found a plaque at the point where the diggers had met in the middle.

Just a couple of years ago there was a lengthy article about this tunnel in the Biblical Archeology Review magazine (not run by Christians, but way cool anyway!).  Since I can’t mail you all copies of the article, this webpage  with responses from BAR (the important bits are the responses by Ayreh Shimron) which is pretty interesting and give you the basic idea.

One of the things I spotted on that page was that portions of the tunnel is “karstic.”  Three months ago my eyes would have glazed over and it would have been a mystery.  Now we know what Karst is, so we know what they’re talking about!

The rock in those sections is Limestone that the water had been wearing away.  This might have been how David had gotten into the city to take it long before.  Have a look at this verse:

And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter [a hollow water space], and smiteth the Jebusites,… he shall be chief and captain.
9  So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.  II Samuel 5:8a,9
If you blink (or yawn), you would miss that detail, but it’s interesting to know that there was already a waterway running through the hilltop of Jerusalem.

English: Hezekiah's Tunnel map, photo credit: Tamar Hayardeni  עברית: מפת נקבת...

Hezekiah’s Tunnel map (blue line=tunnel, brown=elevation) photo credit: Tamar Hayardeni

Now we come 300 years later and Hezekiah is trying to make sure his people will have water even if the Assyrians lay siege to the city.  So he has two groups of miners bring all the water from the spring of Gihon through the tunnel and down into a pool around the corner of the city.   One starting from the spring and the other starting at the pool of the Siloam (which was already fed by the old channel).

We still don’t understand all the details, but we can follow the path straight west where it was a good 50m [164ft] below ground level.  Besides having some effective tools to help guide them in the direction and level they wanted to dig in, there are people who think they probably used some sounds to guide them.

The theory goes like this.  People on the surface would tap at a point in front of the miners who would listen for the general direction they were to head in.  Shimron suggests this is why they decided to head back to a point closer to the surface to continue their diggings.

Things didn’t go perfectly for the diggers.  There are several points in the tunnel where they dug in one direction and then backed up about 2m [6ft] to continue in another direction.

Some people consider the extra length of the tunnel as proof that the miners weren’t too smart.  But we have yet to figure out how the two teams of diggers were able to meet with the precision that they showed at the join.

To honor this accomplishment, they carved a memorial that was found in 1880 by a boy exploring the tunnel.  Now this plaque has been removed and is at the Istanbul Archeological Museum, but it’s real!  Here’s the translation:

English: Siloam Inscription from Hezekiah's Tu...

Original Inscription at the Istanbul Archeological Museum (you can see why there are so many dots in the translation)

… the tunnel … and this is the story [the thing – “dvar”] of the tunnel while … the axes were against each other and while three cubits [were left] to cut? …the voice of a man … called to his fellow, for there was a through-passage [“Zedah”] in the rock, from the right … and on the day of the tunnel [being finished] the tone hewers struck [literally “hit”] each man towards his fellow, ax against [literally: “on”] ax, and the water went from the source to the pool for two hundred and a thousand cubits. and one hundred (?) cubits was the height over the head of the stone hewers.

BTW this tunnel ended at the Pool of Siloam that was only rediscovered with its original location and size  in 2005.

 He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?

This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. II Chronicles 32:3,4,30

For more, see the Quotes post.

Ancient Farming Terraces, England Wikimedia

Ancient Technology: Farming Terraces

The Banaue Rice Terraces in Luzon Island, Phil...

The Banaue Rice Terraces in Luzon Island, Philippines

I love mountains.  I also love stairs.  So, my first glimpse of mountains covered in rice terraces was thrilling!  Someday it would be really nice to visit some and experience them for myself (I may not have to travel so far, as you’ll see).

What I didn’t know s just how ancient these terraces are, and how common!

The most famous terraces are in the jungle of the northern Philippines.  My kids are just finishing up a missionary story about a lady who went to live in one of these valleys.  The people had been repairing and using their stone terraces for as far back as their memory went.  Our best guess is that they are 2 to 3 thousand years old.

Since I’ve run into some other terraces while studying other cultures, I decided to find out how old these terraces can be and how common they are around the world.  Here’s what I’ve found:

Terraces are a very efficient and reliable way to grow crops.  It is much simpler to divert mountain streams in times of low rain than to worry about flooding and drought. Terracing takes advantage of the warmer sunshine and air on the mountain sides.

Andenería en Moray (Perú)

Ancient terraces in Peru (we guess they were trying new techniques)

Have you ever grown a garden in a raised bed?  This takes advantage of the same conditions as a terrace.  You can control much more of the growing conditions with them.  The Incas even used different soils to grow different crops.  This is much easier in a small walled area.  There is even more on the Machu Picchu site, so please check it out.

These terraces are also the reason the mountain regions of Southeast Asia are able to support so many people.  I found a Water History page that starts out with an Evolutionary story of how they started working together in the first place.  We know that people have been forming societies since the very beginning.  The rest of the page is great at explaining the advantages these people have as well as the loss of individuality they suffer from being just one worker among many.

That’s the wonderful thing about following Jesus.  I am just a tiny part of His kingdom, but He is so big He cares about me more than I do!  What a great God to serve!

Just how many places did/do people use this kind of farming?  Have a look (I was completely blown away!):

English: Mountain of Ingushetia. Русский: Горн...

Mountain of Ingushetia showing ancient terracing (Russia, just north of Rep. of Georgia)

Although there are skeptics saying these terraces are all recent, that isn’t backed up by the facts.  As for how old these terraces could be, the paper on Malta says it all.  “Terrace construction methods have apparently changed little over time. It is only recently that some farmers have taken short-cuts and repaired terrace retaining walls with standard limestone building blocks.  Such repairs never last long.”

Our earliest ancestors were already very smart.  They were strong, cooperative (they were caring for their own family), and talented.  God’s Word predicts this kind of similarity beautifully.  He is trustworthy and cares for us!

Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 136:25,26

Ancient Irrigation: Oman’s Aflaj

English: Falaj in Misfah (Oman) Français : Fal...

Falaj in Misfah (Oman)

Yesterday I was reading the book Window on the World to my kids about the country of Oman.  Although this book is almost 20 years old, it still has a lot of good info on people that you don’t usually hear about.  Much to my surprise, I learned that this country is still using irrigation systems with complex tunnels that are 1,000s of years old!

It fit right in with my post on ancient sewer/water systems, so I had to find out more.  Today I spent a little time finding out more about them.  To understand the whole concept, Wikipedia has some good info and I like their long list of countries that have systems similar to Oman’s.  I found a really good Saudi page which says that Aflaj is the plural and Falaj is the singular Arabic name for these water systems.  If you want to study more about them, check out their page (I didn’t notice anything objectionable).   That page tells how the tunnels date back to before the time of King Sargon II of Assyria (c.727BC) since he mentions having destroyed some of them!

Yet again, we see that people way back were smart, strong and knew how to use the resources that God had given them!English: A cross section of a typical quanat.The Middle East wasn’t the only area to use these tunnels. Western China uses them, too.

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.  Proverbs 8:12-18

Skara Brae home entrance: Wiki Commons

Ancient Technology: Sewers?!!! Skara Brae and lots more

Skara Brae passageway near house 8.

Skara Brae passageway near house 8

My dad has an amazing library including a book I’ve just borrowed on Inventions.  They start way back in the “Stone Age” with needles, paint, pottery, boomerangs, and move on to more modern stuff like sewers. When I saw that page I knew I had to cover it here.

The book mentioned that they had sewers in Scotland about 3,000 BC by secular dating, but nothing more. So, I started a GoodSearch and found lots of stuff!

Scotland did indeed have homes with draining toilets almost as far back as people have lived there. One of the northern Orkney Islands has a collection of buildings known as Skara Brae (don’t miss this link, it has some great pictures). After living in the area long enough to have organic material (garbage) to insulate their homes with, the people built their homes completely of stone since there don’t seem to have been trees there (still aren’t any to this day). Here’s what the website says about these people:

“The relics that he and his companions collected along the way were convincing proof that the site was indeed ‘Stone Age’—not a scrap of metal was found. In fact, it dates to what is known as the Neolithic period, when people first began to farm.”

So, they know how long ago this must have been because they didn’t have any metal. Which would mean that if I move somewhere without any electronics, I must have lived in the 19th Century. But were these metal-less people stupid, almost-ape men? Have a look at this:

“They normally had small cells built into the walls, some of which were used for storage but there were a few with drains leading to  the outside which Childe believed to be lavatories. The drains from the individual huts emptied into a sewer system which connected the entire village.”

Orkney's Skara Brae

Orkney’s Skara Brae showing the dresser

All the regular houses also had something very much like a chest of drawers without the drawers. We can only guess whether this was for storage, or some sort of ceremonial platform (although no idols were found!). They also had some of those stone balls I wrote about earlier. Cool. The people who made these things were no dummies!

Eventually this village was abandoned for no reason that we can tell for sure. It’s as good a guess as any that it had to do with the end of the Ice Age that Dancing from Genesis specializes in covering (be sure to check out his webpage on the Ice Age, too).

Let’s have a short look at other early drainage/sewer systems:


Indus Valley ancient Well

The most famous early sewer system was in the Indus Valley of western India/eastern Pakistan. They had a number of large cities with complex and well-designed wells and separate covered sewer systems. They knew how water flows and how to use this to their advantage to have a clean and well-functioning cities as far back as human history goes. This blog post has a bunch of great pictures and talks about this system. They were no dummies either!

The Minoans of Crete had a complex water system in their labyrinth palace at Knossos with covered drains, pipes, baths and flushing toilets. Lots of pictures can be found here at Sewer History. This civilization reached its flower during the Ice Age as well. Although this civilization is ranked later than the one in Scotland that is just because we have more ways to check, like known pottery styles and written histories. I bet if the Scots had written stuff down or had the money to import pots from the Mediterranean they would date to more recent times, too.

Here are some more civilizations that had sewers in ancient times:

Babylonia Turkey, Iran, Israel (follow link to the next page for Israel)


Mayans (they may have had fountains, too)

China  plus 900 year old drain saves city from flooding and really ancient metal pipes from near a pyramid that the website says were put in by aliens (rather than by really knowledgeable early people).


The past two years my oldest kids and I have read through Usbourne’s Book of World History. They did cover how the first cities in the Indus valley had good drainage systems, but they didn’t talk about proper sewers in civilizations until the Roman Empire. I wonder why they left this stuff out?

And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah  Genesis 4:20-22

My starting sources online were these two pages:

Sewer History: Tracking down the roots of our sanitary sewers

A Brief History of Toilets by ar.colton

We’re in League with the UFO fans! The Dinosaur Figurines of Mexico

This is my first full post without pictures.  For some reason, none of the free photo galleries had pictures of these, so I’ve just asked for permission to use some of theirs

Just over a year ago my youngest son had to be hospitalized for dehydration.  During the long hours of holding him and praying while he slept, I got to explore the internet.  One of the things I ran into was some of the more famous groups of artwork showing dinosaurs/dragons.  I was thrilled, although not surprised, since I knew dinos were only a day or less older than mankind.

Then, when I went to start this blog, I checked out the doubter websites that explain these all away as modern hoaxes.  How was I to know which ones were right?  I’m certainly not going to knowingly pass on a lie just because it fits into my Worldview.  So, I’ve not mentioned many of these finds except in one of my very first posts.

Today I want to share about the dinosaur figurines of Acámbaro, Mexico.  Here’s what the doubters say  about them:

  • The excavator wasn’t an archeologist, he didn’t even dig up these figurines
  • Instead he paid locals a peso for each figure brought to him
  • There was no dirt or age patina on any of the objects
  • The places where the figures were excavated showed signs of tunneling off to the side to artificially insert the figurines
  • There was even modern dung in the fill of these tunnels
  • Very few of the figures were broken, even though the careless excavators were breaking “real” artifacts left and right
  • Those few figurines that were broken had been made to look old so they would have the appearance of age

All of these claims turn out to be based on the testimony of a man named Charles DiPeso who visited Acámbaro, Mexico where these dino figures were found, several years after the excavator had made his reports.  After spending a few hours investigating the circumstances, he returned to America and wrote a book about his experiences.

There are a couple of more reasons the doubters give for disbelieving that these figures are old:

  • There are just too many of them, between 35,000 and 50,000, to be real.  Therefore all of them must be modern fakes
  • They don’t date well using Radiocarbon and Thermoluminescence dating
  • They are too well preserved to be authentically old
  • None of the other cultures of Mexico made dino art

I could spend several posts poking logic holes in each of these reasons:

Too much evidence is proof of falsehood?  Try that in court.

Dating techniques are one of the major gods in the Evolutionary/Uniformitarian pantheon, but their gods let them down this time.  The video below discusses the dating problems below.  Wikipedia points out that this was done in the early ’50s when the science of dating was brand new, and therefore unreliable.  Now, all they have to do is never again carefully date the figurines and this makes an excellent excuse.

As for their preservation, do we discount mummies as recent hoaxs because they are too well preserved to be authentically old?  These figurines show signs of having been purposely buried.  They were found under ancient roads and home foundations that would have protected them from corrosion and damage.

As for the other cultures: there are a lot of other cultures with dino art, but they tend to be early when mankind was spread out just getting going on filling the earth.  If you look a little further afield you won’t have any trouble finding dino art.

Last week I ran into this video that another Creationist group shared on facebook; unfortunately it’s longer than your average sermon:

Mystery of Acambaro,Dinosaur Figurines, Fact or Fraud

The same group has put together a photo and text video (no sound) that’s 17 minutes long covering the witness confirmations:

12 Witnesses to the Figurines of Acámbaro

Those who believe these figurines to be genuine have a couple of serious advantages over Wikipedia.  There are a lot more witnesses willing to claim that these are real.  These witnesses were actually there at the discovery of these objects.  Some of the witnesses themselves are doing the talking, not just siting a book from 60 years ago (and other sources siting the same book).

If you want to be able to defend the reality of these ancient artworks for yourself, I highly recommend you listen to this talk by an eye witness, if you are too young or busy to worry about all that, you will have a blast looking at the amazing pictures we have of a tiny fraction of the collection.

As for the reason for the title, I ran into this article which is worth a visit with your parents at a conspiracy website (did you know there are genetic reasons why we’ve had our presidents, and that there’s going to be a UFO visiting the Olympics in London? did you, did you??)  I’ve pointed this out before, but it does tickle my funny bone while at the same time it makes me sad because they still won’t submit to their Savior and Creator.

Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.
Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.  Jeremiah 2:11-13

If you prefer to read, Discovery News has a long article discussing in detail even more facts around the discovery of these figures

Pyramids of Giza, Wikimedia

Ancient Technology

Front Page Graphic for Wikijunior Ancient Civi...

This is one of my favorite subjects and seems to be fascinating to all of you as well.  It is thrilling to see just how smart our great, great, great,…..grandparents actually were!

These posts are in published order:

Creationist’s Prediction No. 3

The Piri Reis Map

Ancient Optics with its follow-up post Answers in Genesis The Nazca Lines

Humans once lived Underwater?

Ancient Astronomy

The Accuracy of the Bible on Astronomy: Part 1

The Accuracy of the Bible on Astronomy: Part 2

And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning James Neinhuis and his blog Dancing from Genesis.  His archives are an almost bottomless well of ancient civilizations and their achievements.

We don’t come from ape-like beings, we come from the mind and heart of God with a portion of His wisdom and ability!

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,…  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 27,28,31