During December 2011 an archaeological survey was conducted in the Shu‛fat quarter in Jerusalem, east of Ramat Shelomo (License No. S-316/2011; map ref. 2209-21/6355-74; Figs. 1-3), prior to paving a road. The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Moriah – the Jerusalem Development Company, Ltd., was performed by L. Barda (GPS) and Z. ‛Adawi, with assistance from Y. Rapuano and Y. Dagan (pottery reading).
The survey region, west of the Shu‛fat and Beit H
anina neighborhoods, is characterized bythe gentle slopes of hills. The prevalent rock in the region is hard limestone and natural flint was identified in one area. Most of the region is distinguished by built farming terraces and orchards where mostly fruit trees and some fig trees grow. The region was previously surveyed by a team headed by G. Mazor and S. Gibson within the framework of the Survey of Jerusalem (A. Kloner. 2001. Survey of Jerusalem. The Northeastern Sector.
Jerusalem). Another survey in the same region was carried out at Khirbat er-Ras by A. Onn and Y. Rapuano (HA
100: 60-61). Several salvage excavations were conducted in the northern part of the survey region (HA-ESI 119
, HA-ESI 120
, HA-ESI 120
) within the framework of which numerous quarries were excavated and documented.
The current survey was conducted from south to north. Sixty-one sites (1–20, 24-64) were identified. In many instances the precise locations of sites were identified that were documented in the Survey of Jerusalem.
Building Remains. The structure (9; Fig. 4) is square and built of large fieldstones, some of which are dressed. A cupmark (10) is hewn just north of the building. Remains of the building were documented in the Survey of Jerusalem (Kloner 2001: 24, Site 174) and were identified as a farmhouse. Pottery sherds dating to the Iron Age 2 were found around and inside the building. Similar sherds were also found in the fields to the north and northwest of the building, together with sherds from the Hellenistic, Late Roman, Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
Burial Caves. Two loculus caves were identified. One (25) is hewn in an ancient quarry (26; Fig. 5; see Kloner 2001: 49*, Site 117). Its opening, which has a curved ceiling, faces south. A decorative wavy line is carved around the entrance. The quarrying of the cave is ascribed to the Early Roman period, to the time of the Second Temple. The second cave (50; Site 6) is square and there is a square courtyard facing south in front of the facade. The cave opening is rectangular and small. An inscription set in a tabula ansata is engraved above the entrance. The inscription consists of three lines of three letters in Latin, but is very worn and has not been deciphered. The opening leads to a chamber with burial benches/arcosolia hewn in its sides and loculi below them. A third burial cave (41), which is no longer visible today, was previously documented by Z. ‛Adawi. A round coarsely hewn opening in the ground (1) might be another cave.
Large Tumuli. Nine tumuli were documented, mostly in the south of the survey area (11–15, 19, 20, 29, 30). The tumuli, which were made of small fieldstones, are large and tall (diameter 8–23 m, height 3-5 m; Figs. 7–9) and are clearly visible in aerial photographs. They were documented in the Survey of Jerusalem (Kloner 2001: 48*, Site 115). Two stone clearance heaps consisting of small and medium stones (2, 3) and a heap of small stones (7) were also documented. A very large heap of stones (8) was piled up on a field wall west of a modern orchard where there are walls and installations that might be ancient remains.
Ancient Road. The road (28) is built in a north south direction and is delimited on one side by a massive field wall built of medium size fieldstones. This is probably the road that was documented in the Survey of Jerusalem (Kloner 2001: 49*, Site 116).
Quarries. An extensive quarry (16-18; Fig. 10) previously documented was identified in the south of area (Kloner 2001: 49*, Site 116). Today the sides of the quarry serve as borders of an orchard and fieldstone walls were built on some of them.
The courtyards that remained inside the quarry are today utilized for growing vineyards, olive trees and fruit trees. The quarry and the road (28) were attributed to the Roman and Byzantine periods. Another quarry (6) was identified at the southern end of the area. Small quarries in which only one side was exploited for quarrying (48, 49, 51–53; Fig. 11) were documented in the middle of the area. Larger and deeper quarries characterize the northern part of the survey area (55–64; Fig. 12). In these quarries the rock-cutting was done in all directions, thus creating courtyards of a sort at the bottom of which severance channels of enormous building stones can be discerned. One of the quarries (63) was documented in the Survey of Jerusalem (Kloner 2001: 26*, Site 27) which the surveyors at the time ascribed to the Roman period. The other quarries in the region are similar to it, and it is possible that they too belong to the same period. A number of quarries from the same period and from later periods (Byzantine and Early Islamic) as well were excavated nearby (HA-ESI 120
, HA-ESI 120
Watchman’s Hut. The remains of the watchman’s hut (?, 33) form a kind of rectangular thickening on a farming terrace built of medium and large stones.
Sites in the Vicinity of Khirbat er-Ras (Kloner 2001: 47*, Site 112). Some 300 m northeast of the location denoted in the Survey of Jerusalem: a meticulously hewn cistern with a high capstone placed on its opening, in which a trapezoidal depression is hewn (38; Fig. 13); a rock-cutting (36); two caves (35, 37; Fig. 14); and scattered building stones. Several sherds from the Iron Age 2 and numerous sherds from the Late Roman and Byzantine periods are scattered on the surface. A cistern with a trough (39) and a nearby rock-cutting (34) that is probably the remains of an installation were surveyed west of Khirbat er-Ras. The ruin was surveyed in the past (HA 100) and remains of a Roman villa were documented there; the villa was not identified in the current survey.
Channel. The channel (32) is excavated in soil and lined with small fieldstones. Presumably this is a modern channel.
Cistern. The cistern (44) is hewn in bedrock and modern concrete construction is visible around its opening.
Lime Kiln (?). The kiln (43) is dug into the ground and lined with fieldstones.
Farming Terraces. Numerous farming terraces (4, 5, 42, 54) were observed, some of which are ancient (45). Scattered around the terraces is natural flint, and probably also worked flint (46). Pottery sherds dating to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods were found around one of the terraces (47; Fig. 15).
Rock-hewn Installations. Two hewn wine presses (24, 31) were found, and a rock-cutting that forms a right angle (27), which is probably another wine press.
The survey region was primarily used for agriculture, for producing building stones and for burial. The Iron Age 2 is represented by Building 9 and probably also by Khirbat er-Ras; if Building 9 is indeed a farmhouse, as has been suggested, then part of the area was utilized in this period for agriculture. Most of the sites date from the Second Temple period until the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. In these periods the bedrock surfaces in the region were utilized as a source for producing large building stones, and to a certain extent for installing burial caves. The paucity of pottery sherds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods indicates the apparent continuation of the agricultural use of the region, an activity that continues until the present.