Stone vessels, usually manufactured of malleable limestone, were commonly found in the Jerusalem area in the late Second Temple period. There are abundant examples in Qumran, in a variety of shapes and sizes, which demonstrate expert workmanship.

The reason for the use of some of these vessels can be found in Jewish ritual law (halakhah). Stone, in contrast to pottery, does not become ritually unclean (tamei). Jewish law maintains that pottery vessels which have become ritually unclean must be broken, never to be used again, whereas in similar circumstances stone vessels retain their ritual purity and need not be discarded (Mishnah. Kelim 10:11; Parah 3:2).

Widespread use of these stone vessels is particularly evident because of their discovery in the excavations of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem. Some of these vessels served the same functions as ceramic vessels, and some had particular shapes and functions. Although the raw material is common in Jerusalem, the cost of production was, no doubt, far greater than that of pottery. The flourishing manufacture of stone vessels came to an end in the wake of the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.).