In August 2015, a salvage excavation was conducted on Nissan Beck Street in the neighborhood of Sanhedriya in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-7495; map ref. 220871/633700), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Leah Charney, was directed by I. Zilberbod, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), A. Peretz (field photography), E. Belashov (surveying and drafting) and I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
The quarry was covered with soil fill and quarrying debris. Several rock-cutting levels (L109, L120; overall depth c. 4 m) were identified. Three of the quarry’s walls were completely exposed (on the northwest and southeast—depth c. 2.5 m, and on southwest—depth c. 2 m). Three to five quarrying steps (each 1.0–1.5 m deep)—exhibiting negatives of large stones (c. 1.5 × 2.0 m) that had been removed—were found along the walls. The northeastern wall, with only one step (L116; length c. 2.5 m, depth c. 1.5 m), was partially exposed. A large stone (L105; 1.5 × 2.0 × 2.5 m) was left in situ on a step on the southwestern wall because of the many cracks that opened in it. Smaller hewn stones (L117, L119; 0.5 × 0.8 × 1.0 m) were left undetached on the steps along the southeastern wall. A large, undetached bedrock block (L111; 1.5 × 1.8 m × 2.5 m; Fig. 3), bearing chisel marks was exposed near the northeastern wall. To its east is a rectangular rock-cutting (L112; 1.8 × 2.5 m, depth c. 0.5 m), in which water was probably stored for use in the quarry was. Chisel marks (L101, L102, L108, L118, L122) and quarrying channels (L110, L113, L114; max. depth 1.5 m; Fig. 4) were preserved on several of the steps and on the quarry’s floor, as well as small rock-hewn recesses (L124–L138; average size 0.25 × 0.30 m, depth c. 0.1 m) that were evidently used to secure the wooden beams of lifting devices. An opening (L140; width c. 4 m) that was used for transporting the stones was hewn on the east end of the quarry. It was found blocked, beyond the limits of the excavation. At the bottom of the quarry and in the overlying fill were several pottery sherds, including a jar (Fig. 5:1) and a jug (Fig. 5:2) that date from the Early Roman period.
The quarry is another addition to the series of large stone quarries from the time of the Second Temple that were used for the public construction undertaken in Jerusalem. Based on the stones that remained in the quarry and the negatives of the stones that were removed from it we can reconstruct the standard size of the stones produced in this quarry (1.0 × 2.0 × 2.5 m).