Remains of the Ground Floor

Three walls (W1, W2, W4; Figs. 2, 3), built of dressed stones and white mortar, were exposed. The foundation courses were 0.1–0.2 m wider than the rest of the courses. Wall 2 (length 6 m, width 0.85 m, width of foundation course 1.05 m, height 1.15 m), preserved three courses high,  was excavated for its entire length. It was aligned northeast-southwest and parallel to the Old City wall. Its southwestern end abutted a tower that was incorporated in the city wall. Wall 1 (length 6.4 m, width 0.8 m, width of foundation course 0.95 m, height 2.21 m) was founded on the bedrock and formed a corner with Wall 2. The exterior face of W1 consisted of two courses, whereas the interior face was composed of five courses, due to the precipitous drop in the bedrock level. The wall continued to the northwest beyond the limits of the excavation. Wall 4 was partly exposed in the eastern half of the excavation square (length 1.6 m, height 0.25 m). It was excavated two courses high and formed a corner with W2.

The three walls enclosed an architectural unit (width 6 m, min. length 5.5 m). A white plaster foundation of a floor was preserved in the corner of Walls 1 and 2 and abutted them (L104; elevation 785.97 m above sea level; see Fig. 2). The floor foundation was set on top of a high bedrock surface, located in the room’s southern corner. The bedrock surface dropped off in a cliff toward the north and was probably the side of a moat, hewn next to the city wall in the Middle Ages.


Underground Water Reservoir

Below the eastern half of the exposed room was a layer of debesh, composed of small fieldstones and soil (L112), which covered a reservoir in the basement (L111; 2.45 x 7.00 m; Fig. 2: Sections 2-2, 3-3). The roof of the reservoir adjoined the bottom of W2.

The northeastern side of the reservoir was a built wall—apparently the lower courses of W4, and its southeastern side was the lower courses of W2. The southwestern side of the reservoir was enclosed with a wall (W9; length 3.5 m, width 0.45 m, height 2.37 m), built of carelessly dressed stones and light gray mortar. Wall 9 was preserved six courses high; each course consisted of two rows of stones and a soil core. The southeastern end of W9 adjoined the bedrock cliff. Fill composed of medium-sized fieldstones, which was meant to support W9, was discovered between W9 and the bedrock on which W1 was founded. The northwestern end of Wall 9 formed a corner with a wall that delimited the reservoir from the northwest (W10; length 2 m, width 0.9 m). Wall 10 was built of three courses of medium fieldstones. The inside of the wall was coated with gray plaster. Only the upper course of the wall was exposed.

A plastered opening (width 0.34 m) was exposed at the northwestern end of W10. It was excavated to a depth of 0.34 m and continued farther north. This was apparently the opening through which water was conveyed into the reservoir and it was connected to a larger system of channels and reservoirs located outside the excavation area.

The fill in Reservoir 111, excavated to a depth of just 1.05 m, contained numerous large ashlars, a concrete beam and an iron rod.

An opening in the reservoir’s southern corner led to the bottom of the shaft, whence water was drawn (L110). The opening was wide at the bottom (width 0.5 m) and tapered toward the top. The upper part was hewn in the bedrock, where it was integrated in the construction of the reservoir’s ceiling. The shaft for drawing the water (0.5 x 0.5 m, depth 2 m; Fig. 2: Section 1-1) was located on the other side of W2, outside the aforementioned room. Most of it was built of medium-sized ashlars and white mortar (Fig. 4) and only its bottom part was hewn in the bedrock. The southeastern side of the shaft was next to the Old City wall and its northwestern side was next to W2. The top of the shaft was abutted from the west by a narrow section of a floor bedding, composed of white plaster (width 0.5 m; elevation 785.77 m above sea level), similar to the floor foundation that abutted Walls 1 and 2.


Plastered Installation

A plastered rectangular installation (L105; min. length 1.3 m, width 0.8 m; Fig. 5) rested against the northwestern end of W1. The sides and floor of the installation were coated with gray plaster (thickness c. 6 cm). The installation was delimited on the northeast by Wall 1, on the southwest by the wall of the tower that was incorporated in the city wall and on the southeast by a wall (W3; length 1.2 m, width 0.45 m, height 2.05 m) founded on the bedrock and preserved six courses high. The northern part of the installation was not preserved; however, a rusted pipe found in the northwestern half of the excavation indicated that liquid drained into the installation, whose floor slanted southward (elevation 784.86–784.79 m above sea level). No connection between the installation and the water reservoir was discovered.


The excavation finds, which consisted mostly of modern building debris, included orange bricks from the first half of the twentieth century CE, a few fragments of modern china that were found beneath the white plaster floor foundation (L104), a scalloped-shaped Israeli agora from the 1960s and an Israeli lira from the 1970s. A few potsherds from the Ottoman period were discovered at the bottom of the deepest excavated fill, which was composed of small fieldstones and soil and into which the water reservoir (L109) was dug and built. Unlike the finds from the adjacent excavations, not even one Marseilles roof tile was discovered in the current excavation.