The water system was carved into the stone. The water system was carved into the stone. The water system was carved into the stone underground. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

Pipe dream: Ancient water system discovered, plumber jokes come pouring in

High school students found the 2,700-year-old system.

Think the pipes in your house are old? Think again.

A team of high school students in Israel just unearthed a 2,700-year-old water system in a town east of the Mediterranean metropolis of Tel Aviv. It was near a similarly ancient 2,700-year-old farmstead with 24 rooms that was also unearthed recently.

The nearby 2,700-year-old farmstead that was also discovered.The nearby 2,700-year-old farmstead that was also discovered. (Photo: IAA)

The students are part of a program to connect teens with the past and train the archaeologists of tomorrow. During the weeklong program, they experience the various tasks involved in the excavation, discuss the research questions and archaeological considerations, and document the dig in an excavation journal as part of their research work.

Students work at the dig site.Students work at the dig site. (Photo: IAA)

“It is difficult not to be impressed by the sight of the immense underground reservoir quarried out so many years ago," said Gilad Itach, who works at the excavations. "On its walls, near the entrance, we identified engravings of human figures.... Most have outstretched arms and a few appear to be holding some kind of object.” A bottle of Drano, perhaps?

Engravings of stick figures were found on the wall.Engravings of stick figures were found on the wall. (Photo: IAA)

We contacted Joshua Strahl, an Israeli plumber who owns a company aptly called Royal Flush. Our readers are familiar with Strahl because we profiled him last year after he had a near-death experience and decided to live life to the fullest by traipsing through volcanoes, running marathons and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. We wanted to get his opinion on the new discovery. "Honestly I would be really curious as to how the pipes endured for so long," he told us. "They certainly don't make 'em like they used to."

He added: "It has carvings on the walls. Perhaps these were deities to safeguard their liquid treasure. That would then make this the oldest Cistern Chapel."

From The Grapevine reader Dr. Elliot Berlin of Los Angeles just had this to say when he heard the news: "H2 Old."

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