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King Herod’s Quarry Discovered

Israeli archaeologists discover ancient quarry

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli archaeologists have uncovered an ancient quarry where they believe King Herod extracted stones for the construction of the Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday. The archaeologists believe the 1,000-square-foot (100-square-meter) quarry was part of a much larger network of quarries used by Herod in the city.

The biggest stones extracted from the quarry would have measured three yards (meters) long, two yards (meters) across, and two yards (meters) high.

The archaeologists said the size of the stones indicates they could have been used in the construction of the Temple compound, including the Western Wall, a retaining wall that remains intact and is a Jewish shrine.

“The dimensions of the stones that were produced in the quarry that was revealed are suitable for the Temple walls,” said Ofer Sion, the dig’s director.

The two-week excavation, which was conducted before construction begins on an apartment complex at the site, also uncovered pottery, coins and what appear to be tools used in the quarry dating to the first century B.C.

“Finding a large quarry related to the largest building project ever undertaken in Jerusalem … that’s more than just another discovery,” said archaeologist Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University, who was not involved in the excavation. “It’s an additional block that slowly reveals the picture of construction in ancient Jerusalem.”

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