During February 2011, a salvage excavation was conducted at Qiryat Ha-Yovel in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-6139; map ref. 216998/630618), after ancient remains were discovered during an antiquities inspection (R. Korin), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Dankner Investments Ltd, was directed by D. Levy, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), B. Dolinka and D. Sandhouse (pottery reading), I. Lidski-Resnikov (drawing), C. Amit (studio photography), B. Antin (plans), N. Agha (archaeozoology), T. Winter (glass), and A. van Zaiden (plaster).
Southeast of the intersection of Arthur Hantke and Israel Zangwill Streets, an area (c. 40 sq m) was excavated on a broad spur, along the southeastern watershed of Nahal ‘En Kerem.The site of Kh. Beit Mazmil (Kh. Beit Mizmir; Conder C.R. and Kitchener H.H. 1881–1883. The Survey of Western Palestine. III:108) is located c. 130 m east of the excavation. V. Guérin documented the ruins of an ancient village at this site (V. Guérin. Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine [Hebrew translation of the French edition from 1868 by Haim Ben Amran]. Jerusalem 1982, 1:57–58). A plastered cistern dating to the Roman, Byzantine and Mamluk periods was exposed in the excavation.In addition, a survey was performed in the northern part of the adjacent ruin.
A square cistern (L100; 4.4×4.7 m; Figs. 1, 2), hewn in qirton bedrock, was excavated; only its bottom part was preserved (depth 2.9 m). The cistern seems to have been part of a complex that was destroyed in development activities of the neighborhood. The cistern was coated with two layers of plaster (side thickness 3.5 cm, max. thickness on the bottom 6 cm). The bottom layer consisted of friable gray plaster containing coarse gravel and the top layer was a whitish light gray color with limestone gravel and quartz. Analysis of the plaster’s composition, which included checking the kinds and size of the aggregates, an absence of pottery chips in the plaster, and a comparison of the plaster with other plastered installations in Jerusalem and its environs shows that the cistern probably predated the Byzantine period. The cistern contained light brown soil fill (L101) mixed with fieldstones, bedrock fragments that most likely originated from the collapsed ceiling, several potsherds and numerous animal bones, composed of sheep/goat, cattle and fowl. Only two of the potsherds discovered in the cistern are diagnostic. One is the upper part of a cooking pot dating to the Roman and Byzantine period (third–fourth centuries CE: Fig. 3:1) and the other is a rim of a basin from the Mamluk period (fourteenth century CE; Fig. 3:9). A fragment of a glass bowl dating to the Byzantine period was discovered on the surface near the cistern’s opening.
Remains of a building (Figs. 4–6) were documented in the survey conducted at the ruin during the excavation. The building was mostly built of fieldstones and a small part of it was built of ashlars in secondary use, which were probably removed from an ancient structure that was situated nearby. The building comprises an agricultural complex of watchman’s huts and vaulted halls surrounding a central courtyard. Also documented within the complex was a ritual bath (miqwe; Figs. 7–9) whose construction predated the agricultural complex. The miqwe was severed by a later cistern that probably belonged to the agricultural complex and was used at least until the British Mandate era, based on the concrete applied to its sides. The potsherds gathered in the survey dated to the Mamluk period (thirteenth–fiftheenth centuries CE), including bowls (Fig. 3:2–8), basins (Fig. 3:10, 11), a cooking pot (Fig. 3:12), a jar (Fig. 3:13), a smoking pipe (Fig. 3:14) and body fragments of jars decorated with geometric patterns (Fig. 3:15–17). In addition, a fragment of a bowl dating to the Ottoman period (sixteenth–seventeenth centuries CE; Fig. 3:18) was found.
One of the two diagnostic potsherds in the fill of the cistern was dated to the Mamluk period; hence, it seems that the cistern was used at least until that time. Potsherds attributed to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods were gathered in the survey of the adjacent ruin. It is possible that the miqwe and the ashlars, which were probably put to secondary use in the building, belonged to a more ancient settlement that was situated at the site and the excavated cistern to its west was related to it.