A 2,000-year-old stonemason’s chisel believed to have been used in the construction of the Wailing Wall (or Western Wall) has been found buried at its base by an Israeli archaeologist. The structure is venerated by Jews as the sole remnant of their Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
Eli Shukron found the chisel last summer along with a number of Second Temple-era objects, including a Roman sword, cooking vessels, a gold bell, coins and a ceramic seal.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has not yet confirmed the provenance of the metal chisel, which has a flattened head from being repeatedly banged on rock. However, Shukron has no doubts that “it belongs to the time the Wall was built,” and was possibly dropped by a stonemason working on scaffolding and that he did not bother to climb down and retrieve it.
Shukron told Haaretz: “We found it at the base of the Western Wall, about six meters below the main street of Jerusalem in the era of the Second Temple. The coins we found in the area, and ceramics too, indicate that it was at the time the Western Wall was built. The chisel itself was found inside rubble of stone chips that fell from the stonemasons working on the rocks comprising the Western Wall.”
“People pray and kiss these holy stones every day, but somebody carved them, somebody chiselled them, somebody positioned them. They were workers, human beings, who had tools. Today for the first time we can touch a chisel that belonged to one of them.”