June 22, 2009
Underground Quarry Discovered In Holy Land
Israeli archeologists announced Sunday that the largest underground quarry in the Holy Land has been discovered and it dates back to the time of Jesus and contains Christian symbols that are etched into the walls.
Adam Zertal, one of the archaeologists, said that the 4,000 square-meter cavern was buried 10 meters below a desert near the ancient West bank city of Jericho. He said it is their assumption that it was dug about 2,000 years ago and was in use for about half a millennium.
According to Reuters, the main hall in the cave is supported by about 20 stone pillars and stands at three meters tall. It contains a variety of symbols that are etched into the walls, including some crosses that date back to about 350 AD, along with Roman legionary emblems.
Zertal said the team that first discovered the site three months ago was from Haifa University. He said that they were putting together a detailed archaeological map of the area when it was found.
"We saw a hole in the ground ... and went down and discovered this giant cavern, originally a quarry, built uniquely with hall after hall," Zertal told Reuters.
Even though the team assumes the stones were used in buildings and churches in the area, Zertal said that further research would be necessary to determine that.
He also said that eventually the site might turn into one of the largest underground tourist sites in all of the Holy Land.
Image Caption: City of Jericho. Courtesy Wikipedia
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