Excavators uncover ancient quarry in Jerusalem

| Published on May 14, 2013

An overview of the quarry site (Photo: Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

An overview of the quarry site (Photo: Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced last week that local workers have discovered a quarry that was likely used in constructing Jerusalem’s ancient buildings.

The 11,000-square-foot quarry site, which dates to the Second Temple Period from 538 B.C. to A.D. 70, was discovered during an excavation prior to the construction of a highway.

The quarry joins previously-discovered quarries from the same time frame. It is located in the modern-day Ramat Shlomo Quarter, near what is known as the Second Temple period’s “city of quarries” in northern East Jerusalem.

Researcher said the location was probably popular for quarrying because of the nearby Meleke rock formation, which is easy to mine and hardens quickly. Another possibility is the sloped area from the quarry that would have made transporting large stones to construction sites easier. The stones would have been useful for constructing buildings, and would have been about 6.5 feet long and weighed tens or hundreds of tons.

Archaeologists were also able to uncover pick axes, wedges, a 2,000-year-old key and other artifacts.

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