The areas are described from west to east.
Area B. A square (c. 6.5 m along the city wall, width 1.3 m) was opened c. 23 m east of New Gate, next to the exterior, northern side of the Old City’s wall. Below the courses of the Ottoman-period wall, two courses of an earlier wall were exposed on top of a hewn bedrock cliff. They were built of large roughly hewn fieldstones (length 0.6–1.0 m, average height 0.7 m), with small stones bonded with gray cement between them. It seems this was the southern wall of the moat that protected Jerusalem from the north. It is postulated that the moat had been quarried when the city wall was constructed in the later part of the Early Islamic period (tenth–eleventh centuries CE). The excavation area, which was actually located inside the moat, revealed the remains of a building from the Ottoman period that were leaning up against the wall of the hewn moat.
Area D. A square (c. 6.8 m along the wall, width 2 m; depth c. 4 m from surface), c. 15 m east of Area B and near the direction change of the wall somewhat to the northeast, was excavated. The Ottoman city wall in this area was also built atop the courses of an earlier wall and the wall of the moat was exposed beneath them. A ‘seam’ was detected along the line of the earlier wall, attesting to a repair performed after the wall’s construction. The part of the wall west of the ‘seam’ was similar in construction to the wall in Area B. East of the ‘seam’, the upper part of the moat’s wall was lined with roughly hewn small and medium-sized stones and above them were five courses of smoothed, medium-sized dressed stones. Some of the stones in the earlier wall were in secondary use. The moat was filled with accumulated modern refuse.
Area C. This L-shaped area (max. dimensions 10 m long, 7.5 m wide) was opened around the corner of the Ottoman city wall, c. 35 m northeast of Area D, and c. 70 m northeast of the New Gate. A corner of a bedrock-hewn tower that protruded north and south from the line of the Ottoman wall was exposed below its corner. It appears that the hewn moat from the Middle Ages encompassed the corner of the tower on its north side and continued in a general direction toward the northeast. The present-day city wall turns at a right angle to the southeast above the western wall of the hewn tower, for a distance of c. 7.5 m, and then, turns back to the northeast. Inside the tower, above the partly exposed smoothed bedrock that served as its floor and near the Ottoman wall, the western part of an installation coated with gray hydraulic plaster, which probably served as a water reservoir, was uncovered. The south and west parts of the reservoir were delineated by the city wall and on its north side was a built wall whose eastern part was not exposed. The reservoir could not be dated with certainty; however, it could be established at this point that it was contemporary to or later than the Ottoman city wall. A modern utility building founded on bedrock was exposed to the northwest of the water reservoir.
Area A. This was also an L-shaped area (max. dimensions 8.0 m long, 5.5 m wide), opened c. 70 m northeast of the Area C, around the corner of the Ottoman wall, which superposed the corner of a tower(?) built of large square stones (length 1.30–1.65 m, width 0.7–1.0 m, height 0.8–1.0 m; Fig. 2). A multi-point hammer was used to draft the margins of the stones and the boss was coarsely dressed. The walls of the tower were founded on natural bedrock, which descended eastward in this zone. A fill of stone chips close to the walls of the tower was probably the debris from dressing stones. The fill contained mostly pottery fragments from the Late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods, as well as a few sherds from the Iron Age. It was sealed by a white floor that abutted the walls of the tower and was preserved in segments due to later disturbances.
Based on its shape, the manner of its construction and the dates of the latest potsherds below the white floor layer, we propose that the tower was built in the Middle Ages, between the later part of the twelfth century and the second half of the thirteenth century CE, probably in the Crusader or Ayyubid period. The length of the tower’s wall (23 m) could be reconstructed based on a detour in the Ottoman wall, 23 m to the southwest of the exposed tower corner. The measure is similar to the periphery length of some Ayyubid towers excavated in the south of the city.
Some 4–5 m north and east of the Ottoman wall corner, and parallel to it, Conrad Schick documented at the end of the nineteenth century a city wall and the corner of a tower that protruded from the line of the wall, built above a moat. A postern gate was identified in the city wall next to the tower, with steps leading from it to the bottom of the moat. The proximity of the currently excavated tower in Area A to the postern gate excavated by Schick, as well as its dimensions and the manner of its construction, which is similar to the Tanners’ Gate in the southern city wall, offer the possibility of identifying it as a gate tower. This may perhaps be Lazarus’ Gate, which is mentioned in historical sources as the entry gate for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Sepulcher, after they had been forbidden to go through the Damascus Gate.
The excavation results show that the Ottoman city wall in this area was built on the remains of fortifications from earlier periods, which dictated its course. The excavation finds form an important contribution to the understanding of the fortification lines development in the northwestern part of the city, ever since that area had been included within the limits of the city from the end of the Early Islamic period (tenth–eleventh centuries CE) until the present time.