During January 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Lower Aqueduct of Jerusalem, in theMishkenot Sha’ananimneighborhood(Permit No. A-5357; map ref. 221429–52/630945–63; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Montefiore Foundation, was directed by G. Solimany, with the assistance of Y. Ohayon (administration), A. Hajian and T. Kornfeld (surveying) and T. Sagiv (field photography).
An area (5×10 m; Fig. 2) was opened and four use phases were discovered: an ancient aqueduct, whose date is unknown; an aqueduct from the Roman-Byzantine period; a cistern built in the Ottoman period that severed the Byzantine aqueduct and a new aqueduct that was built around and adjacent to the cistern, above which a school was built.
Phase One. An ancient aqueduct (L110, Figs. 3: Section 1-1, 5) built of two walls of medium-sized fieldstones (width of wall 0.15 m, width of aqueduct 0.2 m) and coated with one layer of plaster. The aqueduct was oriented northeast-southwest and its stratigraphic relation to the Byzantine-period aqueduct is unclear.
Phase Two. A section of an aqueduct dating to the Roman-Byzantine period (L108; Figs. 2, 3: Sections 4-4, 5-5, 6) was exposed. The sides of the aqueduct were hewn and built of two fieldstone walls, covered with large stone slabs. Fill composed of small tamped fieldstones (L104) abutted the aqueduct from the west and was probably a road that ran parallel to it. A later cistern (L105) severed the southern part of the aqueduct.
Phase Three. An aqueduct, ascribed to the Ottoman period and built of two walls, was uncovered. A large retaining wall was built in the east (L107, length 10 m, Figs. 2–4). A terracotta pipe inserted between the walls (L101) was covered with a thick application of plaster. The walls of the aqueduct were raised on both sides of the pipe (Fig. 7) to facilitate covering the installation with stone slabs. The aqueduct was near the cistern and skirted it from the east. Between the wall of the aqueduct and that of the cistern (L103) was fill consisting of small and medium stones. Openings for cleaning the aqueduct were breached in the pipe (Fig. 8). A stone pillar (L109; width 1.5 m, thickness 0.5 m; Figs. 2, 3: Sections 3-3, 6-6, 9) was built slightly to the east of the northern part of the aqueduct. A terracotta pipe emerged from the side of the aqueduct to the pillar. It conveyed water to a vertical terracotta pipe inside the pillar, whence water flowed down to the bottom of the wall and outside, toward the Sultan’s Pool and the sabil located on the bridge to the east, exactly opposite the pillar.
Phase Four. A modern square building (L105; Figs. 3: Section 5-5, 6) that had cut into the Ottoman aqueduct and negated it.
The Lower Aqueduct dating to the Byzantine period (HA-ESI 123
) was exposed in the excavation; it conveyed water from Solomon’s Pools south of Bethlehem to Jerusalem. Segments of the aqueduct had previously been excavated in this region (HA-ESI
115; HA-ESI 123
). The cistern and the section of the Ottoman aqueduct should probably be dated to the sixteenth century CE, along with the construction of the sabil
near the Sultan’s Pool.