In March 2018, a salvage excavation was carried out in the Mount of Olives neighborhood of Et-Tur; Permit No. A-8254; map ref. 223290–311/632312–332; Fig. 1) prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Al-Naizaq Association, was directed by Z. ‘Adawi, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), D. Levi (GPS), N. Sanduka (archaeological inspection), V. Essman (surveying and drafting) and A. Peretz (field photography) as well as Y. Rapuano and R. Bar-Nathan (pottery reading).
A section of the quarry (c. 35 m long, c. 4 m wide; Figs. 2, 3), extending northward and southward, was exposed beneath soil fills. On the southwest it was bordered by a rock-hewn cave containing at least three cavities (not excavated; not marked on plan). The quarry was covered over by two layers: a lower layer (0.2–0.4 m thick) of white quarry debris that lay on the quarry surface; and an upper layer (0.4–1.1 m thick) of brown alluvial soil containing some quarry debris. Four quarrying levels were identified (total height c. 1.5 m; Figs. 4, 5), exhibiting horizontal and vertical rock cutting markings, severance channels (Figs. 6, 7) and a few partially detached stone blocks. These blocks, which range in size (0.3–0.4 × 0.3–0.4 × 0.8–1.2 m), provide some indication as to the size of the stones that were extracted from the quarry. Some of the stones were probably cut into smaller blocks and worked to form building stones in the quarry itself, and only then transported to construction sites.
The alluvium and quarrying debris layers overlying the quarry surface yielded a mixed pottery assemblage, including a late Hellenistic–Hasmonean period cooking pot (Fig. 8:1); a cooking pot (Fig. 8:2), jars (Fig. 8:3, 4) and the base of a jug (Fig. 8:5) dating from the Early Roman period; and a bowl (Fig. 8:6) and two jars (Fig. 8:7, 8) from the Late Roman period.
The quarry was exploited to provide building stones for adjacent sites, or for the city of Jerusalem. It operated in part of Jerusalem’s agricultural hinterland, in an area dotted with ancient quarries, cisterns, and burial caves that constituted part of the necropolis of Jerusalem in the Roman period (Kloner 2001
:114*–118*, 138*–140*). Based on the pottery retrieved from the quarry, it was probably worked in the late Hellenistic or the Early Roman period, and possibly also in the Late Roman period. Alternatively, the late Roman sherds may have washed into the quarry from the adjacent unexcavated cave.
‘Adawi Z., Barda L. and Touri B. 2008. Jerusalem, Augusta Victoria Survey. HA-ESI 120
Eirikh-Rose A. 2009. Jerusalem, E-Tur. HA-ESI 121
Kloner A. 2001. Survey of Jerusalem: The Northeastern Sector (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.