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Archaeological Discoveries: 2,000 Year Old Stone Quarry Discovered in Jerusalem

(May 2013)

Archaeologists working in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of Jerusalem discovered a 2,000-year-old stone quarry, along with an iron key and masonry tools dating to the same period, in early May 2013.

The large quarry adjacent to the modern-day ultra-Orthodox neighborhood dates to the first century CE and would have been active around the time of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

Some of the stones cut from the rock were more than two yards long and would have likely been transported downhill, via an ancient road discovered nearby, to Jerusalem's walled city where they would have been used for construction.

According to Irina Zilberbod, excavation director, “The quarrying phenomenon created a spectacular sight of bedrock columns and steps and craters of sorts that were the result of the rock-cuttings. Some of the stones that were quarried are more than 2 meters long.

“The key that was found, and which was probably used to open a door some 2,000 years ago, is curved and has teeth. What was it doing there? We can only surmise that it might have fallen from the pocket of one of the quarrymen,” Zilberbod added in a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Sources: Times of Israel (May 8, 2013); Demotix; Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority