Jerusalem, Horbat Berekhot, Umm Leisun

Irina Zilberbod
05/12/2016
Final Report
In August–September 2006, a salvage excavation was conducted at Horbat Berekhot in the Umm Leisun neighborhood of East Jerusalem (Permit No. A-4884; map ref. 22350/62690; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a school. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Jerusalem Municipality, was directed by I. Zilberbod, with the assistance of V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), T. Sagiv (photography) and I. Berin (drafting).
The excavation was carried out in a large oval cairn (22 × 32 m; height 0.5–1.1 m; Figs. 2–5), leading to the conclusion that the cairn was actually a large stone clearance heap of small and medium-sized flint stones, piled up when a large tract of land was prepared for cultivation. A wall (W1, length c. 10 m, width c. 1 m; Figs. 2, 3), aligned north–south, was exposed below the center of the heap; it was built of a single row of large, roughly hewn stones (average size 0.65 × 0.80 m). The center segment of the wall was preserved to a height of two courses while only several stones mixed with small stones and brown soil (L13) survived in its northern and southern parts. The stones in the wall’s soil foundation came from debris, which yielded several fragments of Iron Age II pottery vessels. A wall (W2; length c. 20 m), built of a single row of large unworked flint stones, was revealed parallel to W1 and slightly to its east. A third wall (W3; length 1.5 m; Fig. 6), similar to W2, was found in the northwestern corner of the clearance heap; it was constructed of irregularly shaped flint stones, apparently used to stabilize the heap. Apparently, the two walls functioned as retaining walls during one of the phases of the clearance heap. Over time, the heap was enlarged and covered the walls. Fragments of Roman and Byzantine pottery vessels were discovered in the levels of earth that abutted W1 (L20, L26, L28) and W3 (L24).
No floors were identified abutting the walls. The finds are of no assistance in dating W1 with certainty to the Iron Age or W2 and W3 to the Byzantine–Roman periods.
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