Leen Ritmeyer

Moving the stones: Stages of quarrying and moving ashlars. In the background, at left, the unworked bedrock exhibits the natural horizontal layering of the limestone in the Jerusalem vicinity. Blocks cut, but not yet removed, appear at upper right. The thickness of the limestone layers determined the height of the blocks that were quarried.

At lower left, a stonecutter dresses some rough blocks, taking care to leave projections on opposite sides of each block. The finished product, an ashlar with a projection and margins on its outer face, lies to his right.

Ropes are looped around the stone projections. Using a crane, lower right, a foreman supervises as the crane hoists one end of the block off the ground and lowers it upon a wooden roller.

At center, an ashlar begins its journey out of the quarry. Hitched to the stone by ropes looped around the projections, a team of oxen pulls the block. Wooden rollers ease the ashlar’s movement. As the ashlar inches forward, rollers left behind at the rear are moved to the front.