Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have discovered a 2,000-year-old stone quarry, along with an iron key and masonry tools dating to the same period, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
The large quarry adjacent to the modern-day neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo dates to the first century CE and would have been active around the time of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, archaeologists say.
Some of the stones cut from the rock were more than two yards long. They were likely transported downhill, on an ancient road discovered nearby, to the walled city to the south, where they would have been used in the construction of monumental buildings.
Also unearthed at the site was an iron key.
“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,” archaeologist Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director, said in the statement from the Antiquities Authority.
The excavators also found pickaxes and metal wedges used to sever the cut stones from the surrounding rock.
The excavation is a salvage dig meant to allow the construction of a new road.
Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood, was built in a part of the West Bank annexed to the Jerusalem municipality after the 1967 war.