During May–June 2001 two trial excavations were conducted at Deir Sanna in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebel el-Mukabbir (Permit No. A-3428*; map ref. NIG 22318–24/62938–68; OIG 17318–24/12938–68), in the wake of damage to antiquity remains while digging a trench for an electric cable and preparing the area for construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by K. Sa‘id, with the assistance of V. Essman and A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), M. Avissar (pottery reading) and G. Solimany.
An excavation square (2.8 × 7.7 m; Fig. 1) on a rocky slope facing east was opened, revealing a wall (W100) built of two rows of roughly dressed stones with a core of small stones. A mosaic floor (L203) composed of large white tesserae (2 × 3 cm) abutted the wall on the south. It was destroyed by pits cut by the Electric Company and other modern disturbances. The floor continued southward (L204) and reappeared to the south of a white-plastered channel (width 0.33 m, depth 0.20 m), oriented east–west. It seems that the channel was used to drain water from the floor. The ceramic finds recovered from the stone-fill core of the wall indicate the remains should be dated to the end of the Byzantine period.
Another excavation square (2.5 × 5.0 m; Fig. 2) on the slope facing south, c. 500 m northeast of the mosaic floor, was opened. Floor remains (L303) coated with reddish plaster overlaid a small-stone layer, deposited on a fill layer that leveled the bedrock. A rock-hewn channel, aligned east–west (L306; depth 0.20 m, width 0.15–0.20 m), abutted the floor. Light red plaster was applied to the channel’s two walls; its continuation eastward was covered. The channel conveyed water to a rock-hewn water cistern (L307; diam. 3.0 m, depth 2.5 m) coated with light red plaster (thickness 3 cm). Both channel and cistern were severely damaged by development work. The remains seem to have been part of a system for conveying water. The accumulations on the floor (L303) contained fragments of a bowl and a lamp (Fig. 3) that can be dated to the thirteenth–fourteenth centuries CE.