Second Temple-era workshop discovered near Jerusalem

2000-year-old stone workshop uncovered in Samaria, just north of Jerusalem.


Israeli archeologists have discovered an ancient workshop for the manufacture of stone utensils just outside Jerusalem, the Civil Administration’s Archaeology Unit announced on Monday.

The workshop, which experts said dates back to the Second Temple period (516 BCE-70 CE), was discovered along Road 437 between Geva Binyamin/Adam and Kfar Hizma, north of the Israeli capital.

“During an excavation administered by the Staff Officer for Archaeology in the Civil Administration, remains were uncovered not only of tools, but of an entire production center which included several quarries,” a spokesperson for the Civil Administration told local media.

“During the Second Temple period, it was customary to use utensils made of stone,” added the spokesperson. “Stone utensils have been discovered and are being found at almost every site, in various forms– cups, bowls, trays and various other utensils that are meticulously styled and designed.”

Benny Har-Even, the head staff officer of the Civil Administration’s Archaeology Unit, said that the Civil Administration “will continue to work day and night to preserve the archeological sites and findings in Judea and Samaria, which are part of the treasures and culture of the region.”

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Israeli archeologists uncovered a similar workshop near Hizma some 30 years ago, indicating that the area was once a major center for the mining, production and distribution of stone tools, serving ancient Jewish Jerusalem and its environs.

“Two-thousand years later, we are privileged to continue the work of our ancestors here and [to] widen the road from the Binyamin communities to Jerusalem,” commented the Binyamin Regional Council, which has jurisdiction over large parts of southern Samaria.

Earlier this year, the Israeli Transportation Ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality started work on widening Road 437 between the busy Hizma checkpoint and the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial park.

The project includes adding multiple lanes in each direction, significantly reducing travel time between Jerusalem and the Samaria region.