Dozens of concentrations that included rock-cuttings and installations of an ancient quarry were exposed. It seems that the stonecutters tried to exploit the thin layer of nari, which was particularly suitable for construction. The hardness of the nari ensured the production of quality masonry stones, but it was also sufficiently soft to be quickly and efficiently quarried. The quarrying was only of the nari layer and did not involve the soft kirton rock. It forced the stonecutters to move across a vast area, thus creating a quarry that extended over hundred of meters, on the spurs north and south of Nahal ‘Iron.
Several different-sized areas where quarrying was concentrated were discerned (Fig. 1; Loci 100–120). Some were tiny and were probably used for quarrying a single stone; others were extremely large (in excess of 8 × 10 m). Most of the quarry areas were square, rectangular or polygonal in shape, with sharp breaks at the corners and straight walls. Traces of quarried stones in various sizes were present across the quarry. Some stones that were not successfully quarried were left in situ. To detach the stone from its base the quarrymen apparently produced a series of steps and the final detachment was done from the base of the stone’s front part.
Next to some of the main quarrying locations circular and oval rock-cuttings were discerned (Loci 103, 117). The finds included a miniscule amount of ribbed and worn potsherds that were probably not in situ. Similar stepped quarries attributed to the Roman and Byzantine periods were documented throughout the Roman Empire. These comparisons and the similarity with the quarries exposed by E. Yannai along the southern bank of Nahal ‘Iron, seem to indicate that our quarry should be dated to the fourth–fifth centuries CE. Nonetheless, the quarrying at the site may have begun at a much earlier period.