It is an error to speak, as Doctor Oliver does, misguided by some Masonic traditions, of the quarries of Tyre in connection with the Temple of Solomon. Modern researches have shown without question that the stones used in the construction of the Temple were taken out of quarries in the immediate vicinity; and the best traditions, as well as Scripture, claim only that the wood from the forests of Lebanon was supplied by King Hiram. The great quarries of Jerusalem are situated in the northeast portion of the city, near the Damascus gate. The entrance to them was first discovered by Barclay. A writer, quoted by Barclay, thus describes them, City of the Great Rinks (page 466):
Here were blocks of stones but half quarried, and still attached by one side to the rock. The work of quarrying was apparently effected by an instrument resembling a pickaxes with a broad chisel-shaped end, as the spaces between the blocks were not more than four inches wide, in which it would be impossible for a man to work with a chisel and mallet. The spaces were, many of them four feet deep and ten feet in height, and the distance between them was about four feet. After being cut away at each side and at the bottom, a lever was inserted and the combined force of three or four men could easily pry the block away from the rock behind. The stone was extremely soft and friable, nearly white, and very easily worked, but, like the stone of Malta and Paris, hardening by exposure. The marks of the cutting instrument were as plain and well-defined as if the workman had just ceased from his labor. The heaps of chippings which were found in these quarries showed that the stone had been dressed there, and confirm the Bible statement that the stone of which the Temple was built was made ready before it was brought thither.
Barclay remarks (City of the Great Ring, page 118) that. Those extra cyclopean stones in the southeast and south-west corners of the Temple wall were doubtless taken from this great quarry-and carried to their present position down the gently inclined plain on rollers-a conjecture which at once solves the mystery that has greatly puzzled travellers in relation to the difficulty of transporting and handling such immense masses of rock, and enables us to understand why they were called "stones of rolling" by Ezra.
Prime also visited these quarries, and in his Ten! Life in the Holy Land (pane 114) speaks of them thus:
One thing to me is very manifest: there has been solid stone taken from the excavation sufficient to build the walls of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon. The size of many of the stones taken from here appears to be very great. I know of no place to which the stone can have been carried but to these works, and I know no other quarries in the neighborhood from which the great stone of the walls would seem to have come. These two connected ideas compelled me strongly toward the belief that this was the ancient quarry whence the city was built, and when the magnitude of the excavation between the two opposing hills and of this cavern is considered, it is, to say the least of it, a difficult question to answer what has become of the stone once here, on any other theory than that I have suggested. Who can say that the cavern which we explored was not the place where the hammers rang on the stone which were forbidden to sound in the silent growth of the great Temple of Solomon?
The researches of subsequent travelers, and especially the labors of the Palestine Exploration Fund, have substantiated these statements, and confirmed the fact that the quarries where the workmen labored at the building of the Solomonic Temple were not in the dominions of the King of Tyre, but in the immediate vicinity of the Temple. In 1868, Rob Morris held what he called a afoot Lodge in these quarries, which event he describes in his Freemasonry in the Holy Land, a work of great interest to all Masonic scholars.