In July 2017, a salvage excavation was conducted in Nahal Revida, Giv‘at Sha’ul, Jerusalem (License No. A-8063; map ref. 217953–8064/632411–70; Fig. 1) prior to the construction of Route 16, linking Moza Junction with the neighborhoods of west Jerusalem.The excavation, conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Zalman Barashi & Bros. Co. Ltd., who also provided storage for excavation equipment, was directed by R. Cohen, with the assistance of N. Nehama and R. Abu Halaf (administration), S. Leshem, C. Arbib and T. Shadiel (antiquities inspection), M. Kahan (surveying), A. Peretz (photography), A. Wiegmann and O. Rose (photogrammetric documentation), I. Delerson (plans), Y. Rapuano (pottery), I. Lidsky-Reznikov (drawing of finds), and laborers from the Perah Ha-Shaqed Company, Ltd.
The excavation extended across the northeast slopes leading to Nahal Revida, in the wadi between the neighborhoods of Givʻat Sha’ul and Bet Ha-Kerem. The slope around the excavation area is characterized by numerous rock outcrops and alluvium, much of which accumulated at the bottom of the hill. The bedrock in the excavation area is of the chalky Kefar Sha’ul Formation.
Previous surveys in the vicinity of the excavation documented caves, a limekiln, ancient farming terraces, remains of field towers, quarries, water cisterns and a winepress (Kloner 2003:112*–118*). Excavations in the region exposed a columbarium, an olive press, caves, quarries and rock cuttings (Zilberbod 2015), as well as a rock-hewn installation and three caves (Shor 2016). Trial trenches dug in 2014 within cultivated plots inside the streambed revealed a quarry, rock cuttings and natural caves. Under the supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority and a representative of the Atra Kadisha organization, the area slated for investigation was fully exposed prior to the excavation, revealing several archaeological remains.
The excavation uncovered four ancient quarries along the slope: two beneath a natural rock terrace that crosses the slope, and two farther down the slope, creating what looked as an artificial terrace (Fig. 2). In addition, a burial cave, hewn in one of the quarries after it was abandoned, was exposed but not excavated.
Above the natural rock terrace was an ancient quarry, which extends from east to west across almost the entire area (length c. 61 m, width 4.5 m). As this part of the slope was beyond the excavation limits, it was neither exposed nor excavated, leaving the quarry remains undisturbed. The rock on this part of the slope appears to be harder than that in the excavated area.
Two rock-hewn caves (not excavated) are visible at the top of the terrace’s cliff of the natural terrace. The chalk horizon below the cliff extends over c. 80 m. Two quarries were hewn into this horizon: an eastern one (Quarry 1; L104, L109; max. dimensions 9 × 34 m; Figs. 3, 4) and a western one (Quarry 2;L100–L102; max. dimensions 8 × 21 m; Fig. 5). An entrance to a burial cave
was hewn into a
straightened, vertical rock wall
in Quarry 2. The entrance is rectangular
and is surrounded by a doorway-like sunken frame (outer opening 0.85 × 0.85 m, width 0.5 m, height of inner opening 0.6 m). The opening was hewn to match a square plug-like sealing stone (Kloner and Zissu 2003:23); the stone was missing, and the cave entrance was filled with alluvium that had infiltrated into the cave over the years. The entrance is of a common type, which is found in most burial caves in Jerusalem and is characteristic of the Second Temple period. The cave (
L105; Fig. 6
) was not excavated.
Farther down the slope was a fourth cave that was not excavated either, along with two quarries: an eastern one (Quarry 3; L108; max. length 6 m, max. width 2 m, max. height 2 m; Fig. 7) and a western one (Quarry 4; L107; max. length 15 m, max. width 7 m, max. depth 2.6 m; Fig. 8), which form what looks like an artificial cliff.
Separating and detachment channels were discerned in the quarries.
In Quarry 2, a hewn stone (L100; c. 0.4 × 0.6 m, thickness c. 0.15 m; Fig. 9) was found in situ
. Partially detached stones were also visible (Fig. 10). The stepped quarries were shaped both by planning and the progression of quarrying in a method that made it easier to separate and detach the stones from the bedrock. The size of the steps was planned according to the required dimensions of the quarried stones (Safrai and Sasson 2001:4).
The quarries yielded only a few potsherds, but most of the diagnostic body fragments can be dated to the late Hellenistic–Early Roman periods (first century BCE – first century CE). These included a hemispherical bowl from the Early Roman period (Fig. 11:1); two cooking pots, one from the late first century BCE – first century CE (Fig. 11:2) and the other from the first century CE (Fig. 11:3); jars (Fig. 11:4, 5); as well as a flask (Fig. 11:6) and the base of a jug (not drawn), also from the first century CE.
As it is difficult to date quarries based on quarrying methods, other, circumstantial means of dating are to be relied on (Safrai and Sasson 2001). Thus, based on the pottery recovered from the four quarries—one of which incorporated a Second Temple-period burial cave—and on their proximity to at least two hewn caves, also typical of the Second Temple period, it is reasonable to assume that the quarries operated during the first century BCE and the early first century CE.
Kloner A. 2003. Survey of Jerusalem: The Northeastern Sector; Introduction and Indices
(Archaeological Survey of Israel).Jerusalem.
Kloner A. and Zissu B. 2003. The Necropolis of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. Jerusalem (Hebrew).
Safrai Z. and Sasson A. 2001. Quarrying and Quarries in the Land of Israel in the Period of the Mishnah and Talmud. Elqana (Hebrew).
Shor M. 2016. Jerusalem, Nahal Revida. HA-ESI 128.
Zilberbod I. 2015.
Jerusalem, Giv‘at Sha’ul.HA-ESI 127.