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Ancient quarry found in Jerusalem

Updated:2009-08-03 17:05:35

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Israel is an archaeologist's paradise. The ancient land is bursting with archaeological sites all over the country.   Many tourists to Israel join in the search for artifacts by participating in digs. Prior to the beginning of new construction in certain locations, it is mandated that the land must be excavated to uncover any hidden history. So it is not surprising that an ancient quarry was recently uncovered prior to construction beginning on an apartment complex in central Jerusalem.

King Herod who ruled the Holy Land from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C. completed many building projects, including the rebuilding of the Temple (the Second Temple; the first having been destroyed in 586 BCE) and the mountaintop fortress of Massada.
 
The quarry that was uncovered in July was excavated under the direction of Dr. Ofer Sion and Yehuda Rapuano of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Dr. Sion stated about the discovery, "The immense size of the stones indicate 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. …We know from historical sources that in order to build the Temple 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 each…The large section that was exposed is actually a small part of an enormous series of quarries that was spread across the entire slope. ..In those days the work of hi-tech focused on quarrying, removing and transporting stones. Historical sources record that Herod trained more than 10,000 people to be involved in this work"


This is the third such quarry found that was used for this purpose in the last three years.   Pottery shards and coins dating from the Second Temple period were also found at the site.
 
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority

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