During July–August 2010, a salvage excavation was conducted at the northern end of Or ‘Aqiva (Lot 297; Permit No. A-5972; map ref. 192466–679/714210–404), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by A. a-Salam Sa‘id, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), M. Kahan (drafting), P. Gendelman (pottery reading) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
The quarry (c. 209 sq m, depth 3.5 m; Fig. 1) was discovered in the southern part of the lot, beneath beach sand. It comprised three adjacent courtyard quarries of different sizes, all with right angles and straight sides.
Courtyard Quarry A-1 (c. 114 sq m; Fig. 2) was located in the western part of the quarry. The western side consisted of seven stepped levels indicating that the quarrying was done from the west to the east. The rest of the sides were vertical, save several sections in which the quarrying was horizontal (L103; Fig. 3). Several quarrying negatives in the bedrock reflect the dimensions of the hewn stones (0.21×0.38×0.60 m, 0.21×0.38×0.80 m). Similar large chunks of bedrock, not entirely hewn, were also found, among them one large stone on the bottom of the quarry. At the bottom of the area was a layer of compacted quarrying debris (thickness c. 0.5 m). The quarrying was evidently suspended when soft bedrock was reached (L104). The finds from the bottom of the quarry were meager and included fragments of a cooking pot (Fig. 4:1), a baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 4:2), a jug (Fig. 4:3) and a base of a jug (Fig. 4:4), dating to the first–second centuries CE.
Courtyard Quarry A-2 (c. 69 sq m; Fig. 5) was located in the eastern part of the quarry. This quarry and Courtyard Quarry A-1 were separated by a low two-level partition (L105). Eight bedrock steps were hewn in the northern, eastern and southern sides; each of the steps was a different width and descended steeply toward the bottom. A stone (0.30×0.50×0.73 m; Fig. 6) not completely detached from the bedrock remained on the bottom step at the northern side. Eight hewn bedrock steps that descended toward the east were exposed in the southwestern side of the courtyard quarry. The negatives visible on the steps indicated the dimensions of the quarried stones (0.21×0.24×0.74 m). Different size stone negatives were discovered at the bottom of the quarry (L106; 0.25×0.30×0.50 m). A square rock-cutting (1.10×1.75 m, depth 0.30 m) was discovered at the eastern end, on the bottom of the quarry, as well as a layer of stone dressing debris (L108; max. thickness 0.9 m) that suggests the final trimming of the stones was done in-situ.
Courtyard Quarry A-3 (L107; c. 25 sq m; Fig. 7) was located in the southern part of the quarry. This quarry and Courtyard Quarry A-2 were separated by a hewn partition (thickness 0.3 m) that tapered toward the top. Three quarrying steps were hewn adjacent to the western end of the rock-cutting. The eastern, southern and northern sides were hewn in a vertical and straight fashion, indicating that most of the rock-cutting was done with a chisel. Two broad bedrock steps were exposed on the bottom of the quarry, one near the eastern side and the other next to the western side. The dimensions of the quarried stones (0.26×0.39×0.60 m) can be reconstructed based on the negatives preserved in the bedrock at the bottom of the quarry. The bottom was covered with a compacted layer of quarry debris.
The quarry (320 sq m), which was located in the north side of the lot, was not fully exposed. Quarrying marks of stones and severance channels were visible in its sides.
The two large kurkar stone quarries were apparently meant to supply stones to the city of Caesarea and its installations in the Roman and Byzantine periods and provide stones for the construction of a Roman road that passed through the area. The straight stone-dressing marks discovered in the bedrock show that the work was done by chisels. The very meager amount of small finds from the fill at the bottom of Quarry A included a few potsherds that dated to the first–second centuries CE.