The ancient city of Megiddo has seen battles throughout its history. It sits in the Jezreel valley near the pass of Megiddo, where the ancient road from Egypt to Damascus, the Via Maris, passes. Here, Pharao Thutmose III defeated an army of Canaanite kings in the 15th century BCE. Solomon fortified Megiddo, but nevertheless it was destroyed by Pharao Shishak in the 10th century BCE. The kings of Israel rebuilt the city once again, but the Assyrians conquered it late in the 8th century BCE. The Assyrians did not leave the city in ruins and rebuilt it. Once again it became the scene of a famous battle. King Josiah of Judah died here when he tried to stop the Egyptians coming to the aid of the newly resurgent Babylonians.
Sitting at the crossroads of history, the battles at the mount of Megiddo—Armageddon—became legendary, so that its name even passed into the Christian tradition as the location of the last great battle.
A city that was so frequently attacked needs a reliable water source. Under King Ahab of Israel an underground water system was constructed. A shaft and tunnel linked the city with the well that lay outside city walls. The old opening of the well was blocked so that the water source was only accessible through the tunnel. Women of the city would walk down the shaft and along the tunnel to the underground water source, where they would fill their water jars and carry them back to the light of day. They never really left the city walls behind, for they only ventured beyond the city limits deep below the earth. The system gave a guaranteed access to water even in times of siege.