Jerusalem Quarry for King Herod’s Temple (Photographic credit: Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
Nearby to the Ramat Shlomo Quarter, a large Ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jewish neighborhood nearby to and northwest of Jerusalem, another Herodian Quarry of limestone used in the quarrying of smaller megalithic stones for King Herod’s Temple has been discovered. Over 2,000 years old, this ancient excavation site was discovered prior to the paving of a Highway 21 by the Moriah Company, according to the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA).
This quarry which is about one dunam in size is estimated to be 2,030 years old or about the year of 27 BCE. Located on Shmuel Hanavi Street nearby to the neighborhood of Jerusalem’s American Colony, the excavation site is bordered by the Jerusalem neighborhood Ramot to the west, Har Hotzvim to the south and the Shuafat neighborhood to the east.
Originally call Reches Shuafat (Shuafat Ridge), this rocky ridge was later named after the Orthodox Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, one of Judah preeminent rabbinic scholars whose estimated 300,000 – 500,000 supporters lined the streets of Jerusalem in 1995 when this rabbinic Torah giant died. His first major publication, Meorei Esh was written on the use of electricity on the Jewish Shabbat and endorsed by Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky with these words; ‘A New Light will Shine upon Zion’.
The quarry excavation site is currently being explored by Dr. Ofer Sion and Yehuda Rapuano of the IAA, before this area will be paved over with a street and developed into residential buildings. According to Irina Zilberbod, IAA excavation director:
IAA Excavation Director Irina Zilberbod – “The quarrying phenomenon created a spectacular sight of bedrock columns and steps and craters of sorts that were the result of the rock-cuttings. What remained are rock masses in various stages of quarrying, and there were those that were found in a preliminary stage of rock-cutting prior to detachment.”
According to Dr. Ofer Sion, the large limestone blocks were excavated here and reused for the Temple Mount walls nearby to the grand expansion and enlargement of Zerubabbel’s Temple into King Herod’s Temple. This large stones were about the maximum height of two meters (6.0 to 6.5 feet) and weighing in “tens if not hundreds of tons”. In total, the team uncovered an area of around 11,000 square feet where the ancient quarry formerly existed.
Yet, this was not the only quarry in the region. This northern region, located along the entire slope of the rocky ridge from Musrara Quarter to the Sanhedria Quarter have been the exploration grounds of prior discovered quarries. This has prompted the name for this region as Jerusalem's “city of quarries.” The youngest quarry dates from the Second Temple Era period.
A Large Ancient Iron Key – Was it used in One of the Giant Doors that Surrounded the Temple Mount of King Herod’s Temple? (photo credit Clara Amit (Courtesy of the Israeli Antiquities Authority)
Among the artifacts discovered at the excavation site were multiple pickaxes plus metal wedges that were used to “sever” the cut stones from the surrounding limestone foundational layer. There was also an iron key, that was possibly used in a large monumental door such as one of the gates to Jerusalem, or to King Herod’s temple, plus metal plates or wedges that were used to sever the stones from the bedrock, and coins and pottery shards dating back to the end of the Second Temple period (the first century BCE). As Archeologist Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director said in an official statement for the Antiquities Authority:
Archeologist Irina Zilberbod - “The pick axes were used to cut the severance channels around the stone block in the bedrock surface and the arrowhead-shaped detachment wedge, which is solid iron, was designed to detach the base of the stone from the bedrock by means of striking it with a hammer. 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 (or a Temple Construction Supervisor).”
One of the prior excavations sites nearby that was explored by the IAA over five years ago in 2007 were larger megalithic stones reaching upwards to 26 feet in length and no doubt weighed over 100 tons in weight. These were used by King Herod and possibly even earlier by King Solomon for Jerusalem’s monumental building projects. As Dr. Ofer Sion, excavation director reported:
Dr. Ofer Sion – “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 dimensions of the stones that were produced in the quarry that was revealed are suitable for the Temple walls.”
The Northern Jerusalem Quarry archeological finds that include Pickaxes, Severance Wedges and a Most Unusual Iron Key (photo credit Clara Amit (Courtesy of the Israeli Antiquities Authority)
The reason for the ridge site as a quarry zone is the fact that the Meleke limestone rock formation was easily quarried for after the limestone was cut, shaped and exposed to air, the limestone rock would harden immediately. The region of the quarry was at a higher elevation than the Temple Mount so the transport of the enormous limestone stone would have been taken downhill along a first-century road that was discovered nearby.
How it was transported was not exactly known except during the time of the Roman Empire the use of giant wood-lifting devices were used and oxen plus giant rollers could have brought the stones down to the site of the temple reconstruction area by King Herod the Great. As explained by Dr. Ofer Sion:
Dr. Ofer Sion – “The massive quarrying effort, on the order of hundreds of thousands of stones, lowered the topography of Jerusalem in the vicinity of the Old City. Today, with the exposure of this quarry, the intensity of the building projects as described in the historical sources can be proven.”
Flavius Josephus wrote that before Herod built the Temple he prepared the infrastructure for it by quarrying stones north of the Temple Mount for eight years in preparation for the largest platformed Temple in the entire Roman Empire. With the preparation done, Herod’s Temple took only two years, a remarkably short time to build such a monumental edifice. As Dr. Ofer Sion continued:
Dr. Ofer Sion – “With the exposure of the quarries in Sanhedria and Ramat Shlomo, it is clear that Herod began quarrying closest to the Temple and worked away from it; first he exploited the stone on the nearby ridges and subsequently he moved on to quarry in more distant regions.”
According to the archeologists, these multi-ton limestone stones were transported downhill from the site of the quarry along an ancient road to the walled city of King David, Jerusalem to the south where they would have been used in the construction of the platform walls on the Temple Mount, King Herod’s Temple on its own platform mount to the south, other monumental buildings such as King Herod’s Palace nearby to the west.”
What is clearly depicted is the historical fact that the Jewish people were living on their own divinely appointed tribal homeland called the Roman Province of Judea under the rule of King Herod the Great. They were participants with a massive construction project to enlarge the Temple Mount site and to rebuild King Herod’s Temple to the honor of the G-d of Israel as early as 30 BCE on a temple site that was at least 500 years old at the time. This was more than 720 to 1220 years before the Islamic Shrine Masijd Qubbat As-Sakhrah was completed in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik.
The Battle for the Minds of the Human Race is now coming to its fullest revelation. The forces of Darkness battled against the Forces of HaShem’s angels of Light as the final battle over 2000 years ago for the souls of men on Planet Earth. It was the divine rule of HaShem that the Sheep of the House of Judah would be sent into one last exile, yet out of this epic war would set the stage for the restoration for Lost Ten Tribes of the House of Israel and the final redemption of All Israel; the Ten Lost Tribes of the House of Israel and the Jews of the House of Judah.
The Roman Empire was a major part of this Drama of the Ages then and continues to be so today with its Christian descendants, the Roman Catholic Church and her children of the Christian Protestant faith. They will all be participants in the Final Act of that Divine Drama.
These participants not only include the Jews of the House of Judah, the Lost Ten Tribes of the House of Northern Israel; both of the House of Jacob (Israel), but will include the Roman Edomites of the House of Esau, the brother of Jacob of the House of Isaac and the Arabs of the House of Ishmael, the brother to Isaac of the House of Abraham.
If you want to learn more, Contact “Kol Ha Tor Vision”, the Voice of the Turtledove. Here is a joint Orthodox Jewish and 10-Triber Mission to bring awareness of the imminent fulfillment of the Biblical Prophecies regarding the Redemption of all Israel (12 Tribes Re-conciled and Re-United).
The author of this blog is a supporter of Kol Ha Tor Vision and while we are publishing material that may be relevant to the Lost Ten Tribes of the House of Israel, the leadership of Kol Ha Tor do not necessarily agree with everything we have published. Yet, we understand, until the Messiah son of David comes to give us full insight into what is happening to our lives and our world today, we may know only in part while we continue to support the rabbanim of Israel and seek reconciliation with the Jews of the House of Israel until we are finally one family; the family of our Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
This reunification will truly be a super Event of all Times that will entail Establishing Shomron (the Ancient Bible Heartland of the Patriarchs) and the Judean Wilderness as part of the Land of Israel, and preparing the “Land” for the Return of the Lost Tribes of the House of Israel and then the Redemption of All Israel.
For inquiries about Kol Ha Tor Vision for the Lost Tribes of Israel, we invite you to make a personal Visit to Israel and stay at “Shomron Lives!”,a Spiritual Retreat and Guest House in Samaria, that hosts Shomron (Samaria) Tours to reacquaint the Returning Lost Tribers of the House of Israel.