This chapter explains that from the site of Mons Claudianus, which lies 50 kilometers south of Gebel Dokhan, the Romans hewed the enormous columns of speckled, white granite which were to grace some of the most splendid buildings of Roman antiquity, among them Trajan's Forum and the Pantheon itself. There are approximately 130 quarries in the hills surrounding Mons Claudianus, many of which contain examples of the variety of objects the Romans fashioned from the fine stone but discarded because of cracks or other defects. Recent discoveries indicate that at some point during its occupation, as many as 920 people lived at Mons Claudianus. Scholars do not know exactly when or why quarrying ceased there. The archaeological research at Mons Claudianus itself is becoming increasingly difficult because the site is threatened by modern quarrying, which every year destroys valuable inscriptions in the surrounding area.
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