In December 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at 4 Shemuel Baruchim Street in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-6966; map ref 22058–60/63351–4; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Y. Penet, was directed by Z. ‘Adawi (field photography), with the assistance of N. Nahama (administration), D. Levi (GPS), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting) and D. Tanami (antiquities inspection).
The quarry (c. 3.5 × 8.5 m, depth 1.9 m; Figs. 2, 3) was partially excavated; two to three quarrying steps facing east, west and south, and parts of its floor were exposed. The southern continuation of the quarry is located beneath fills and a modern building. Quarrying channels surrounding blocks of bedrock that had not yet been detached could be discerned in the quarry’s floor. These allow us to estimate the size of the stone blocks produced in the quarry: their general dimensions are varied (average size: length 0.7–1.0 m, width 0.4–0.5 m, height 0.4 m); larger blocks (max. dimensions 0.7 × 1.7 m) were also hewn, although they might have been broken into smaller stones. The quarrymen reached a depth of c. 2 m, in deep intensive rock-cutting in the south, east and west of the quarry.
Three layers of soil accumulations were discovered: the lower layer, near the bottom of the quarry (L102; thickness c. 0.25 m) contained white or beige-colored quarrying debris devoid of any datable finds; the middle layer consisted of coarse quarrying debris (L101; thickness c. 1.2 m); and the upper layer (thickness c. 2 m) included dark brown alluvium overlaid with modern refuse (L100; thickness 0.3 m). The upper layer of alluvium was removed by mechanical equipment; most of it was cleared prior to the excavation. Potsherds dating to the Hellenistic and Early Roman period, and particularly to the Late Roman period, were found in the middle and upper layers.
The portions of the quarry that were exposed were probably part of a larger quarry that might have functioned as a courtyard quarry (Safrai and Sasson 2001:4–5). Since the quarry continued south, beyond the limits of the excavation, it was not possible to estimate its original size. It is likely that very long stone blocks (in excess of 1 m) were produced in the quarry. The quarrying debris that was found at the bottom of the quarry indicates that the stone blocks were initially dressed there, divided into smaller blocks and then transported to be used for private or public construction. Potsherds that were found mixed with quarrying debris in the layers of alluvium might have been swept there from outside the quarry; consequently they have no value in dating the quarry.
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