Jerusalem, Mandelbaum Gate

Achia Kohn-Tavor
Final Report
In April 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted next to Mandelbaum Gate in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-5418; map ref. 2216/6326), prior to the construction of the light rapid transit system. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ashtrom Company, was directed by A. Kohn-Tavor (photography), with the assistance of Y. Ohayon (administration) and D. Levi (GPS).
The excavation (50 sq m) was carried out on the northern slope of a hill upon which Jerusalem’s Third Wall was built in the Second Temple period. A quarry from the Roman and Byzantine periods and a tomb from the Roman period (Zilberbod and Amit 2010) were discovered several dozen meters north of the excavation. The current excavation yielded a paved surface built of river pebbles and gray mortar (thickness 0.10–0.15 m; Fig. 1) that sloped from east to west. It seems that the surface continued to the north, west and east, beyond the limits of the excavation area. No pavement was discovered in the northeastern corner of the excavation area, suggesting that the surface did not extend in this section or was damaged in the modern era. The southern part of the surface abutted a bedrock terrace. The lower part of the bedrock terrace was smooth, probably worn from use; it seems that it was the continuation of the paved surface. In the southwestern corner of the excavation area, the surface abutted an agricultural terrace wall; some of the wall’s stones were robbed. The paved surface contained several pottery sherds dating to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. The surface was covered by fieldstones overlain by an accumulation of soft, gray soil containing refuse that included sherds dating from the seventeenth–eighteenth centuries CE, bones, pieces of metal, nails, glass fragments and industrial debris. An asphalt road from the time of the British Mandate was discovered above the soil accumulation; this was probably a section of Richard the Lionheart Street.
The paved surface may have been part of a courtyard belonging to an agricultural building. Alternatively, it may have been a section of a road that led during the Ottoman period from Damascus Gate to Nabi Samuel. Such a road appears on maps of Jerusalem from the nineteenth century CE; the Mandatory road was built above it. The accumulation above the paved surface seems to have been part of an industrial-waste heap that was piled up during the Ottoman period; such a heap appears on the British Survey map from the nineteenth century CE.

Zilberbod I. and Amit D. 2010. Jerusalem, Highway 1. HA-ESI 122.
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