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Jerusalem quarry turns back the biblical clock


Israeli archaeologists have discovered a 2000-year-old quarry site in Jerusalem which could have been used to source the materials for the Second Temple, the Jewish holy site.

The site was excavated as a salvage dig in preparation for the construction of new buildings in the neighbourhood of Har Hotzvim – which loosely translates to “quarrymen’s hill’, or “stonecutter’s mountain”.

The site was located around four kilometres north-west of the Temple Mount, where the Second Temple would have sat from 515 BCE to 70 CE.

The uncovered area of the quarry measures about 600m2 but the archaeologists believe the entire site could be two to three times larger.

The building blocks extracted from the site some 2000 years ago measured about 1.5 metres by 2m and clearly displayed a number of quarrying processes.

On behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the excavation director Moran Hagbi told The Times of Israel that he believed the findings could be beneficial to current day processes.

“[The quarry] presents a golden opportunity; because some of the stones were left in situ in this way, we can copy ancient technologies and experiment with them in order to recreate the processes by which the building stones were quarried,” Hagbi said.

The Israel Antiquities Authority’s general director Eli Escosido said there was much to learn from Jerusalem’s long history of industrial development.

“In a symbolic way, Jerusalem’s current development boom presents us with an opportunity to excavate and research the great building projects in Jerusalem in antiquity,” Escosido told The Times of Israel.

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