temple quarry 224.88.
(photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority )
For the second time in the past year, archeologists have uncovered a Second Temple Period quarry whose stones were used to build the Western Wall, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday.
The latest archeological discovery was made in the city's Sanhedria neighborhood, located about two kilometers from the Old City of Jerusalem.
The quarry was uncovered during a routine "salvage excavation" carried out by the state-run archeological body over the last several months ahead of the construction of a private house in the religious neighborhood.
The quarry is believed to be one of those used to build the Jerusalem holy site because the size of the stones match those at the Western Wall.
"Most of the stones that were found at the site are similar in size to the smallest stones that are currently visible in the Western Wall, and therefore we assume that the stones from this quarry were used to build these structures," said Dr. Gerald Finkielsztejn, director of the excavation.
The stones were dated by pottery found at the site, he added.
"This is a rather regular quarry except that there are really big stones," Finkielsztejn said.
The largest of the stones found at the quarry measures 0.69 x 0.94 x 1.65 m, while some of the stones were apparently ready for extraction but were left in place.
The quarry was probably abandoned at the time of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66-70 CE, he said.
Last year, archeologists unearthed an ancient quarry that supplied enormous high quality limestones for the construction of the Temple Mount in an outlying neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Dozens of quarries have previously been found in Jerusalem, but these are the first two that archeologists have uncovered which they believed were used in the construction of the Temple Mount.
A few dozen quarries were likely used in the building of the Temple Mount, said Prof. Amos Kloner, a former Jerusalem district archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority.
He said it was "no surprise" that the first two had been found, and noted that the neighborhood where the latest quarry was found was in itself built on top of a quarry.
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