The Water Pools and the Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Late Second Temple Period

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A significant number of water pools existed in Jerusalem in the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods. The pools constitute an archaeological phenomenon that should be analysed in its own right. No other city in the region had so many stand-alone large pools in its urban landscape. This paper offers an explanation of this phenomenon based on its cultural, historical, and archaeological context. The article discusses the corpus of pools, including the dating, the methods of water collection and their possible use in light of similar water installations that were common in this period. In the analysis of the pools' appearance in Jerusalem, the paper examines the broader context of the phenomenon—water utilisation by Jewish society in the time of the Second Temple before 70 AD. The conclusion drawn is that the pools are a manifestation of the wide-scale pilgrimage movement to Jerusalem that emerged in the Late Second Temple.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-134
Number of pages32
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Palestine Exploration Fund 2017.


  • Jerusalem
  • pilgrimage
  • Roman water systems
  • Second Temple Judaism
  • water pools
  • water supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies
  • Archaeology


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