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Holman Bible Dictionary

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were troughs cut out of rock or soil or pipes made of stone, leather, or bronze that were used from very early times in the Middle East to transport water from distant places into towns and cities. Related Old Testament Passages—2 Samuel 5:8; 2 Kings 18:17; 2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:3-4,2 Chronicles 32:30; Isaiah 7:3; Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 36:2

Old Testament The simplest aqueducts were troughs cut out of rock or soil and sometimes lined with mortar. These troughs carried water from hillsides to the valleys below. Jerusalem was served by a system of aqueducts which brought mountain spring water first to collecting reservoirs outside the city, and then into the city itself. Hezekiah's tunnel, the Siloam tunnel, was a twisting underground aqueduct that diverted water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam (2 Kings 20:20). At Masada, two small wadis were dammed up and the water diverted by open channel to rock-cut cisterns in the mound. Sennacherib's thirty-five-mile-long aqueduct (ca. 690 B.C.) brought water into Nineveh from the river Gomel.

Roman Aqueducts The Romans excelled in building aqueducts, and the remains of these systems are impressive. Ancient aqueducts, the non-pressure type, carried water downhill by means of gravity. Although most conduits were beneath the ground, lowlands were crossed on high, arched structures, each containing a built-in slope so that water flow was not impeded. Sometimes these elevated sections, while also carrying several channels of water, served as footbridges. The Romans built many aqueducts, the longest of which covered fifty-seven miles. Pipes were made of various materials such as stone, leather, or bronze.

Diane Cross

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'AQUEDUCTS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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