Biggest Ancient Block of Stone Is Found

It weighs 1.6K tons, was never moved from quarry
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2014 7:32 AM CST
Biggest Ancient Block of Stone Is Found
File photo of a different ancient quarry.   (AP Photo/IAA, Assaf Peretz)

Archaeologists studying an ancient quarry that is home to a famously gigantic stone block have now found an even bigger stone block at the site, reports io9. This monster, which dates back to 27 BC, is 64 feet long and 19.6 feet wide. Though it is still mostly buried, researchers estimate that it's 18 feet high and weighs somewhere around 1,650 tons, thus making it the biggest stone block from antiquity, reports the Archaeology News Network. German archaeologists uncovered it in the quarry at Baalbek in what is now Lebanon.

It is next to a fully exposed stone block of similar, but smaller, dimensions, known as Hajjar-al-Hibla, or Stone of the Pregnant Woman. Archaeologists previously determined that Hajjar-al-Hibla was probably left in the quarry because its edges had low-quality stone that might get damaged during transport. Further excavations will try to determine whether the bigger stone block suffered the same fate. It was presumably cut for use in a Roman temple—before ancient builders determined that it wasn't up to snuff. (Click to read about why ancient terracotta warriors looked so realistic. (More discoveries stories.)

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