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10 Years Cache: Stones of Jerusalem EarthCache

Hidden : 04/27/2010
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

This Earth cache will introduce you to the stones of Jerusalem and their use for building since ancient times.

This cache was hidden as part of the Geocaching 10 years celebrations in Israel.

Jerusalem is known for its stone buildings. A local law, since the days of British occupation, requires every building in Jerusalem to be built of stone, or coated by stone.

The building stone that gives Jerusalem its character is locally quarried limestone. There are seven grades of building stone, which are quarried from distinct beds of the Mount Scopus and Judea Groups. These are, in descending stratigraphic order:

  1. Nari
    Nari is a harder crust formed on soft surface chalk or marl of the Mount Scopus Group (Senonian), which overlies more resistant limestone beds of the Judea Group. Nari is used as a source of lime today, but its friability or ease of cutting made it the favorite material for ashlars or dressed building stones during the tenth and ninth centuries BC.

  2. Kakula
    Kakula is white or bituminous chalky limestone from the Mount Scopus Group. It is easily carved or turned and was used in biblical times for ossuaries, or receptacles for the bones of the dead, and ritually pure stone vessels. Although porous and friable, its low density made kakula useful for roofing. Archeologist Yitzhak Magen has excavated a cave at Hizma, north of Jerusalem, which contains the remains of a workshop for stone vessels, and he has reconstructed the techniques that artisans used to shape vessels such as the six klal or stone water jars of Cana (John 2:6).

  3. Mizzi hilu
    Mizzi hilu ("sweet stone") is a hard, ledge-forming lithographic limestone member of the Judea Group (Turonian), which workers customarily leave in place as the roof of a cave after quarrying the underlying meleke.

  4. Meleke
    This is the most known stone in Jerusalem, the stone which is used for many of the old buildings of Jerusalem. Meleke ("queen") is the preferred, moderately hard, crystalline limestone member of the Judea Group (Turonian), which is easily quarried for building stone. Its working properties and attractive golden color make it the preferred building stone today. Ashlars in the Wailing Wall, the outer retaining wall of the extended Herodian Temple platform, were apparently cut from meleke in quarries north to the Mount of Temple. It keeps its color for years, giving to those buildings their typical look.

    Meleke in the Wailing Wall

  5. Mizzi ahmar
    Mizzi ahmar ("red stone") is a reddish dolomitic limestone member of the Kefar Veradim Formation (Cenomanian). It was used for building since the 2nd temple days. In late 19th and early 20th centuries it was used as a decorative stonework for luxury houses. It underlies the meleke.

    Meleke and mizzi ahmar integrated in the Austrian hostel in Jerusalem

  6. Mizzi Yahudi
    Mizzi yahudi ("Jewish stone") is a dolomitic limestone member of the Kefar Veradim Formation (Cenomanian). It is the most common used stone for building in Jerusalem, since the begining of 20th century.

  7. Dir yassini
    Dir yassini is a platy reddish dolomitic limestone member of the Kefar Sha'ul Formation. It appears as thin slabs of 10-25cm, seperated by marl. Marl is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud which contains variable amounts of clays and aragonite. It forms a layer which is sealed to water, forming most of the spring in Jerusalem area. The thin layers of Dir yassini are used for floors and roofs.

In the early 20th century, Jerusalem was rapidly expanded, with many new neighborhood built outside the old city walls. Many quarries were opened to supply the building needs - in Lifta, Giv'at Shaul, Givat Beit Ha'Kerem and all the area of Giv'at Ram where today are the Hebrew university, the Knesset, The Israel Museum and Neve Granot. A small remnant for these quarry was integrated in the Wohl garden and roses, the place of this Earth cache. Today there are a nice Japanese garden and waterfall.

Sadly, today you can see the stones of Jerusalem on buildings from all eras, but less ans less in their natural form.

Earth cache does not involve a physical cache. While visiting the place, please look and answer the following questions. Send the answer to the cache owner and log it only after you get back the permission. The important thing is not your right answer but trying to learn, so even if you give me wrong answer, but which are based on true observations from the site, you will get permission to log find.

  1. Look on the quarry walls, near the waterfall (the waterfall is somtimes dry because the shortage of water, but you can identify its place). What is the color of the stone? Which stone of the above do you think it is?
  2. On the bottom of the quarry flowing an artifical stream (again, it may be dry). Measure the height of the step above the stream channel (If you don't have a ruler, mark it on something and measure at home). What do you think is the stone above the stream? What is in its bottom?
  3. Some stones in the place were brought here from other areas. Describe at least one such stone and why do you think it is from other place?

Additional Hints (No hints available.)