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Natural or geological stone, in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament pronounced ay-ben. The Temple was built without the noise of craftsmen since the stones were shaped in the quarry and made ready to fit together on Mount Moriah (6:7). One of the methods for hewing the stones was to carve broad slits along the rock face, and to drive dry wooden wedges into them. Water was then poured over the dry wedges, so causing them to swell. The resulting pressure then broke the stone along the slits. This primitive method of quarrying was quite effective, and traces of it can still be found in the cave.

Cutting massive stone blocks with hand tools is an incredibly labor-intensive task. Each block had to be finished at the quarry. The stone was then moved. Finally, the whole thing was covered in cedar paneling, so that no stone work was visible. The interior paneling was also overlaid with gold. Hiram the King of Tyre sent a half-Israeli craftsman also named Hiram to oversee the artwork of the Temple. It appears the building was finished by 959 BC.

It is known that Solomon personally owned a quarry near Jerusalem. The local quarry was probably used for Solomon's palace. There were the living quarters, a large judgment hall, and an armory and barracks. Add to this extending the wall around Jerusalem to 3 times its original run. It took another thirteen years after the Temple was finished to complete the palace.

Much of what remains of ancient Egypt consists of stone. There are building stones for temples, pyramids, and tombs; ornamental stones for vessels, sarcophagi, shrines, stelae, statues, and other sculptures; gemstones for jewelry; and utilitarian stones for tools, weapons, pigments, and other applications.

Solomon's Temple

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

(Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Beit HaMikdash), also known as the First Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot in ancient Judaism. Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

David conquered Jerusalem in approximately 1004 BCE and made it a center of government. He brought the Ark of the Covenant to the city, and Jerusalem became the political and spiritual nexus of the Jewish people. The son of David, whose name is Solomon built the first Temple. The scriptures speak of masons, and the stonecutters. They purchased timber and cut stone for repairing the LORD's Temple, and they paid other expenses related to the Temple's restoration. (2 Kings 12:12)


"I found a city of brick and left it a city of marble", so said the Roman Emperor Cesar Augustus (64 b. C. - 14 a. C.) About 15 miles north of Rome lies the ancient hillside town of Tivoli, noted for its beauty and the quarries which supplied travertine stone to build Rome's monuments as early as the 2nd century BC. Among several emperors who had villas in the area, Hadrian's was the most notable. The Romans quarried stone on a massive scale, carrying out work that was both arduous and highly dangerous.

The quarries at Syracuse, for example, which were opened by the Greeks, continued in use through the Roman period. It is estimated that some 40 million cubic metres of stone were quarried here during ancient times.

In the Greek of the New Testament pronounced lee-thoss, forms in one of three general ways: by the cooling of molten material from the earth's interior (igneous rock e.g. granite, basalt), by the stratification of worn mineral material (sedimentary rock e.g. shale, sandstone), or by rock that has been transformed by great pressure or heat (metamorphic rock e.g. slate, marble). Although stone has no life, it's actually part of the "living" earth, in that stones are formed from natural processes (see The Seven Days Of Creation), and then wear or erode away, releasing the elements to eventually continue the cycle.


Hadrian's Wall (Latin: Vallum Hadriani) is a stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of Great Britain. It was the second of three such fortifications built across Great Britain, the first being Gask Ridge and the last the Antonine Wall. All three were built to prevent military raids by the tribes of (what is now) Scotland to the north, to improve economic stability and provide peaceful conditions in the Roman province of Britannia to the south, and to physically mark the frontier of the Empire. Hadrian's Wall is the best known of the three because it remains the most physically preserved and evident today.

The Roman army numbered amongst its ranks highly skilled architects, mason builders, surveyors and carpenters as well as soldiers for whom the wall was an opportunity to express their talents and also be part of what they felt was the greatest civilising force in the west at that time. Local people may have willingly helped for not dissimilar reasons. And undoubtedly local people benefitted from trade in goods and services.

By the time Hadrian became Emperor in 117 AD the Roman Empire had ceased to expand. Hadrian was concerned to consolidate his boundaries. He visited Britain in 122 AD, and ordered a wall to be built between the Solway Firth in the West and the River Tyne in the east "to separate Romans from Barbarians".

Tom & Alana Campbell 5214 South 2nd Avenue, Everett, Wa 98203-4113

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