During August 2010, a salvage excavation was conducted on Ma‘alot ‘Ir David Street in the Shiloah village in Jerusalem, c. 15 m south of the entrance to the City of David National Park (Permit No. A-5998; map ref. 222359–375/631237–595), prior to the installation of a water pipe. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Eli Barashi Company, was directed by R. Avner, with the assistance of Y. Ohayon (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), A. Peretz (field photography), R. Gat (restoration), C. Amit (studio photography) and I. Lidski (pottery drawing).
The excavation was carried out on the northwestern part of the City of David hill (3.8 x 4.8 m; Fig. 1). Two strata were discovered. The upper one included a wall and a floor dating to the Abbasid period and the lower stratum contained fragments of roof tiles and mud bricks from the Middle Roman period. Nearby, to the east of the current excavation, a quarry attributed to the Roman period was exposed and in the fill above it were potsherds and roof tiles from the Roman period and potsherds from the Byzantine period (HA-ESI 110:62*). Remains of a residential quarter dating to the Abbasid period were discovered c. 35 m northwest of the excavation (HA-ESI 120).
A wall (W1; length 4.3 m, width 0.73 m, height 0.58 m; Figs. 2, 3) that was built of two rows of stones and a core of soil and small and medium-sized stones was discovered. The wall, aligned north–south, was preserved three courses high. The bottom and top courses of the wall’s western face were built of large stones, whereas the second course on that side consisted of small and medium stones (Fig. 4). The three courses of the eastern side were composed of medium-sized stones (Fig. 5). A tamped-earth floor (L107; elevation 696.43 m above sea level) abutted the eastern side of the wall. Based on Floor 107 and the characteristics of the stones on both sides of the wall, it seems that the eastern side was the interior of the wall and the western side—the exterior. A street or an alley, which continued north and south beyond the limits of the excavation, may have been located to the west of W1.
A krater was found inside the wall. The vessel has a thick and everted rim and is decorated with a combed pattern consisting of four wavy lines set above four horizontal lines. The krater is made of pinkish gray clay, containing numerous small black and white inclusions (Fig. 6:2). The ceramic artifacts found above Floor 107 included a bowl fragment with an inverted rim, made of pale yellow clay with numerous small black and white inclusions (Fig. 6:1); a large jar fragment of orange clay, containing large white and small black inclusions (Fig. 6:3), and an almost intact jug of well-levigated yellow clay (Fig. 6:4). These vessels date to the second half of the eighth and the ninth centuries CE. The rest of the potsherds in the fill above the floor were mostly small fragments from the Ottoman period. It therefore seems that the wall and the floor that abutted it should be attributed to the Abbasid period.
Many fragments of roof tiles, typical of the Roman period when the Tenth Roman Legion was garrisoned in Jerusalem, were discovered in the fill west of the wall, at a lower level than the floor. A fragment of a round mud brick, characteristic of bathhouses, which bears a worn stamped impression of the Legion (Fig. 6:5) was also found in the fill. Although this fill was not sealed, the find could have originated in a Roman bathhouse that may have been situated close to the excavation area.
It seems that the excavated wall section, with its impressive length and width, was part of a public building. Based on the finds, it should be dated to the Abbasid period (eighth–ninth centuries CE); its orientation is consistent with that of walls from this period, which were exposed in the Giv‘ati parking lot (HA-ESI 120). Hence, it seems that they constituted a single urban fabric.
The stratum beneath the wall is from the Middle Roman period, when the Tenth Roman Legion was stationed in Jerusalem (from the first [year 70] until the third century CE).