The Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday the discovery of a large stone quarry dating to the first century B.C. It is suggested by the director of the excavation that this was one of the quarries used by Herod the Great in his building projects in Jerusalem.
Dr. Ofer Sion, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, believes, “The immense size of the stones (maximum dimensions: length 3 m, width 2 m, height 2 m) indicates it was highly likely that the large stones that were quarried at the site were destined for use in the construction of Herod’s magnificent projects in Jerusalem, including the Temple walls. It seems that a vast number of workers labored in the quarry where various size stones were produced: first they quarried small stones and when the bedrock surface was made level they hewed the large stones. The stones were quarried by creating wide detachment channels that were marked by means of a chisel which weighed c. 2.5 kilograms. After the channels were formed the stones were severed from the bedrock using hammers and chisels”.
The full news release may be read here. Similar quarries have been discovered in Jerusalem in the decade. Todd Bolen, at Bible Places Blog, provides some links to the earlier quarries as well as some good photos. One photo shows the Ketef Hinnom quarry that has since been covered by the Menahem Begin Heritage Center. I’m glad Todd was there to capture that one.
HT: Todd Bolen; Joseph Lauer