During August 2004 a salvage excavation was conducted in the City of David (Permit No. A-4224*; map ref. NIG 22239/63103; OIG 17239/13103) in the wake of construction in the courtyard of the Kar‘in family. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by A. Kar‘in, was directed by Z. Greenhut, with the assistance of V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying) and T. Sagiv (photography).
In Square A, c. 4 sq m of bedrock that sloped precipitously southward (Fig. 3) and bore traces of quarrying, were exposed. In Square B, c. 3 sq m of bedrock were revealed, along with a severance channel (width 0.15 m) that encircled a raised stone block, whose detachment was not completed (Fig. 4). In the northern part of Square C, a 4 sq m bedrock terrace (Fig. 5) that dropped abruptly southward to a narrow bedrock terrace (width 0.2 m) was uncovered. South of this terrace was another terrace, which was not excavated. The terraces were the outcome of quarrying in the area.
Based on the results of Weil and Kenyon’s excavations, which revealed mainly quarries from the Late Roman or Byzantine periods, it seems that this quarry should also be attributed to these periods.
A fill that covered the quarry was discovered in all three excavation squares. The lower and main part of the fill (depth c. 2 m) consisted of small and medium-sized fieldstones of soft limestone (malaki) that could be the debris from the quarry. Overlaying the stone fill was a soil fill (average depth 1m), wherein a thin white uniform stratum was discerned in several places (Fig. 2, sections). This soil fill was disturbed by the pits cut for the columns and cinderblock walls of the modern building’s addition.
The ceramic finds from the stone fill that overlaid the quarry mainly belonged to the end of the Iron Age (eighth to sixth centuries BCE); pottery fragments from the Early Roman and Byzantine periods were also present. The latest find from the stone fill was a pipe from the Ottoman period (eighteenth century CE). Accordingly, it seems that the quarry was open until the eighteenth century and was covered only then or later. The fill was probably intended to prepare the place for agricultural activity; it may have also accumulated in the wake of earthen debris removal from the archaeological excavations by H. Guta, or from other archaeological excavations in the vicinity.