December 21, 2014
2,000 year-old chisel used to build Western Wall found in Jerusalem
Israeli archaeologists have found a stonemason's chisel that they believe may have been used by the builders of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the most sacred Jewish sanctuary.
"It’s a chisel used to shape the Wall’s big stones," said archaeologist Eli Shukron who’s been digging in the area for the past two decades together with his colleague Ronny Reich. It’s an extraordinary discovery, "no tool had never been found in this area," he added.
Shukron found the 15 centimeters-long metal chiser while digging at the lower base of the Western Wall, originally built as a support wall to the Second Temple, south of the Western Wall courtyard.
The chisel was found among other objects currently under scrutiny by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) that might shed light on who completed the construction of Jerusalem Temple.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the most dramatic discovery was a number of coins found beneath the wall, which led to rethink its date of construction and who was behind it.
The Western Wall had been thought to be part of King Herod construction drive -1st century B.C- but both the chisel and the coins were used a century after Herod’s time. Shukron and Reich now say Herod is not responsible for the Western Wall: going by the date of the objects, the Wall must have been built after his time, by one of its heirs.
Other finds include a Roman sword, cooking vessels, a gold bell, and a ceramic seal.