Biblical Archaeology Review 7:3, May/June 1981

How Herod Moved Gigantic Blocks to Construct Temple Mount

Megaliths used by Herod for wall of Temple Mount were heavier than giant stones of Stonehenge or Pyramids

By Murray Stein

A single ashlar—46 feet long, 10 feet high and 10 feet deep—is described by Michael Zimmerman in the accompanying article (“Tunnel Exposes New Areas of Temple Mount”) on the Rabbinical Tunnel adjacent to the Temple Mount. This single stone in the wall of the Temple Mount weighs 415 tons!

The largest megalith at Stonehenge, by comparison, weighs a mere 40 tons. And the “pebbles” which the Egyptians used to build the pyramids were a lightweight 15 tons.

The 46-foot ashlar in the Rabbinical Tunnel is not alone. Other similar ashlars, 39 feet long (350 tons) and 36 feet long (325 tons), have also been uncovered in the tunnel. How were such extraordinarily heavy and large pieces of stone moved?

One possibility is that they were not moved. They were simply carved in situ from the adjacent bedrock. The massive retaining wall which was built to provide a level area or platform surrounding the Temple had to be built on bedrock and, theoretically, this bedrock could have supplied the large stones for the wall. This theory does not work, however, because the large stones in the wall are clearly a different limestone than that of the bedrock in the area of the wall.

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