In March 2016, a brief trial excavation was conducted in the southwestern part of Ha-Zorfim Street in Yafo (Permit No. A-7652; map ref. 1768/6623; Fig. 1), prior to widening the sidewalk. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by V. Shustin, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), C. Ben-Ari (GPS), R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), Y. Marmelstein (field photography), P. Gendelman (scientific consultation) and D. Ben-Ami, M. Ajami and D. Barkan of the IAA Central District.
Ha-Zorfim Street crosses the southern slope of Tel Yafo and lies within the walled Ottoman-period city. The street’s southeastern end passes through the city gate of this period, and its southwestern part runs along the former St. Joseph’s Hospital, today a boutique hotel. The hospital was built on the ruins of Yafo’s southeastern bastion from the Ottoman period. Two former excavations near the current excavation (Ayash 1999; Arbel 2010) uncovered architectural remains, drainage channels and assorted finds from the late Ottoman period (late nineteenth–early twentieth centuries CE).
After clearing the vegetation with mechanical equipment, two excavation squares were opened (Figs. 2, 3), revealing a soil fill, which probably served to level the area prior to gardening work. The fill yielded ceramic finds dating from the late Ottoman period (late nineteenth–early twentieth centuries CE). The excavation also uncovered part of the top of a foundation arch (W20; excavated length 3 m, width 0.6 m; Figs. 4, 5) supported by pilasters at both ends. The arch was built along a northeast–southwest axis of medium-sized rectangular kurkar stones. A plaster floor abutted the southwestern pilaster. The bottom part of a lime pit (L18), uncovered to the east of the arch, also yielded pottery from the late Ottoman period.
Previous excavations along the street (Arbel 2010) revealed a row of houses built on similar foundation arches, and the arch uncovered in the current excavation belongs to the same residential block. The excavation confirms that Ha-Zorfim Street was wider in the late Ottoman period than at present.
Arbel Y. 2010. Yafo, Ha-Zorfim Street. HA-ESI 122.
Ayash E. 1999. Yafo, Ha-Tsorfim Street. HA-ESI 109:146 (Hebrew; English summary, p. 98*).