Speed Reads

Discoveries

Archaeologists discover 'largest stone ever carved by human hands'

Archaeologists from the German Archaeological Institute have found what they think is "the largest stone ever carved by human hands," Discovery News reports.

The stone is more than 2,000 years old, dating to at least 27 B.C.E., the archaeologists estimate. It is 64 feet long and 19.6 feet wide, with a height of at least 18 feet. It clocks in at an astounding 1,650 tons.

The archaeologists found the stone in a quarry in Baalbek in Lebanon. During Roman rule, Baalbek was a Roman colony known as Heliopolis, "the city of the sun." Alexander the Great founded Heliopolis in 334 B.C.E.

"The level of smoothness indicates the block was meant to be transported and used without being cut," the institute said in a statement. "Thus, this is the biggest boulder known from antiquity."

The archaeologists believe the stone was intended for use in the construction of a temple, since they were a similar size to the stone blocks used to build a nearby temple to Jupiter. The stone may have been abandoned because it was "unsuitable for transporting" and would have cracked along the way, the archaeologists speculate.