Huge Ancient Quarry Uncovered in Yerushalayim


diggingAn ancient quarry covering approximately one dunam and dating back to the end of the Second Bais Hamikdosh period was uncovered during excavations on Rechov Shmuel Hanavi in Yerushalayim ahead of the construction of residential buildings, the Israel Antiquities Authority said today. According to the authority’s Dr. Ofer Sion, who directed the dig along with Yehuda Rapuano, the 2,300-year-old site was probably the source of the stones used to build the walls of the second Bais Hamikdosh. “The immense size of the stones indicates it was highly likely that the large stones that were quarried at the site were destined for use in the construction of [builder of ancient Yerushalayim, King] Herod’s magnificent projects in Yerushalayim, including the Bais Hamikdosh walls,” Sion said.

“We know from historical sources that in order to build the Bais Hamikdosh and other projects which Herod constructed, such as his palace, hundreds of thousands of various-size stones were required – most of them weighing between two and five tons”, Sion continued, noting that the discovery of the quarry verified the historic accounts of the intensity of Herod’s building projects as described by Flavius Josephus.

Among the artifacts discovered at the site were metal plates, referred to in the Gemara as “cheeks,” which were used as fulcrums to sever the stones from the bedrock, as well as coins and pottery shards that date to the first century BCE, the end of the period of teh second Bais Hamikdosh.

{Yair Israel/JPost}