In June and July 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at 6 Mahanayim Street in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-6833; map ref. 633750/220794), after an ancient quarry was discovered in trial trenches dug prior to the construction of a residential building. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Joseph Hamami and PinchasAharon, was directed by S. Mizrahi, with the assistance of N. Nahama (administration), Z. Matskevich (antiquities inspection), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), D. Levy (GPS), A. Peretz (field photography), T. Lipschitz (logistics), D. Sandhouse (ceramics) and S. Itkis (plan).
Part of a quarry (Figs. 1, 2) was exposed.It was probably larger than the excavation area. A cistern that was part of a private dwelling constructed in the twentieth century was hewn inside the quarry.
In the past, quarries, burial caves, rock-hewn niches and courtyards were discovered in the Mah
anayim, Sanhedriyya and Ezrat Torah (Tel Arza) neighborhoodsof the city (Kloner 2001
: Sites 218–232; Bar-Nathan 2008
; Zilberbod 2013
). A loculus
cave dating to the Herodian period and quarries from the Hasmonean and Herodian periods (Kloner 2001
: Site 227; Mizrahi 2007
; Finkielsztejn 2009
) were previously excavated on Nisan Beck Street, near Mah
anayim Street. The quarries that were discovered in the areawere evidently part of an extensive quarrying complex that operated during the Hasmonean and Herodian periods. Researchers believe that the stones which were hewn in these quarries were used in the massive construction projects that were undertaken in Jerusalem during these periods (Kloner 2003
Four main areas (L100, L103–L105) with rock-cutting were identified in the quarry. Bedrock steps bearing chisel marks were revealed just to the east and west of the cistern (L100; Fig. 3); some of the steps were damaged when the nearby building was constructed and the cistern was hewn. Identical quarrying marks were discerned (Fig. 4) on two quarrying steps (height 0.25 m) to the east of the cistern. Vertical rock-hewn walls and indications of a stone that wasdetached from its place (L103; 0.65 × 1.10 m; Fig. 5) were found in the south of the quarry. In the northwestern part of the area (L104), signs of rock-cutting and severance channels of four fully detached stones were discovered (stone dimensions: 0.5 × 0.9 m; width of the severance channel:9 cm; Fig. 6); this quarrying area was disturbed and covered with concrete during construction. The quarrying remains in the northeastern area (L105) included vertical rock-hewn walls, curved quarryingmarks (width 0.25 m), the incomplete rock-cutting of two adjacent stones (0.1 × 0.5 × 0.9 m; Fig. 3) and severance channels (length 1.72 m, width 9 cm). A layer of quarrying debris (L102) comprising light colored, fine-grained soil and small- and medium-sized stones was noted in several places in the excavation sections (Fig. 7). This layer was discerned in places that were not damaged by the construction of the house, and most of the layer had apparently been removed from the excavation area at the time of the construction. The quarry was covered with an accumulation of terra rossa soil mixed with stones, a scant amount of pottery, as well as roof tiles and modern refuse. The pottery sherds date to the Iron Age and the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.
A square cistern with round corners (L106; depth 1.4 m; Fig. 8) was hewn inside the quarry. A layer of light pinkplaster (thickness 9 cm) containing black and gray inclusions was applied to its walls. The plaster in the cistern was repaired and covered with gray mortar. The cistern was part of a house that had been constructed in the Mah
anayim quarter which was built in the mid-1930s (Shapiro 1958
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Finkielsztejn, G. 2009. Jerusalem, Nisan Beck Street.HA-ESI 121.
Kloner A. 2001. Survey of Jerusalem:The Northeastern Sector (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.
Kloner A. 2003. Survey of Jerusalem:The Northwestern Sector (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.
Mizrahi Y. 2007. Jerusalem, Nisan Beck Street.HA-ESI 119.
Shapiro Y. 1958. Outside Jerusalem’s City Walls. Jerusalem (Hebrew).
Zilberbod I. 2013. Jerusalem, Sanhedriyya.HA-ESI 125.