In February 2020, a salvage excavation was conducted on 14 Latin Patriarchate Street in the Old City of Jerusalem (Permit No. A-8701; map ref. 221619–42/631613–37; Fig. 1), following the discovery of antiquities during inspection prior to renovation works. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Society of St. Yves, was directed by D. Gelman, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), R. Cohen and D. Yeger (inspection), V. Essman (surveying and drafting), S. Halevy (field photography and digital documentation), O. Zakaim (location map and plan), T. Lieberman (pottery), C. Hersch (pottery drawing), T. Shadiel (archaeozoology) and L. Kupershmidt (metal laboratory).
The excavation (c. 23 sq m) was conducted in a room of a building undergoing renovation, some 100 m northwest of the Imperial Hotel. In the late nineteenth century, remains of the upper aqueduct to Jerusalem and of the Late Roman city wall (fourth century CE) were documented on the hotel grounds; an excavation conducted in 2010 near the hotel exposed further remains of the aqueduct and of the city wall (Sion and Puni 2001
, and see further references therein).
The present excavation (Fig. 2) revealed Byzantine-period earth fills overlain by floor remains and two walls, apparently built not earlier than the Byzantine period and no later than the Ottoman period. The building in which the excavation was conducted was constructed above those remains during the twentieth century.
The early phase revealed in the excavation comprised layers of earth fill (L118, L120, L121; Figs. 3, 4), containing numerous animal bones and some pottery sherds. Most of the bones are from pigs and goats/sheep, with a few from cattle and dogs; many of the cattle bones exhibit cut marks. The pottery dates from the Byzantine period and includes a large bowl (Fig. 5:1) and two jugs (Fig. 5:2, 3). An iron object found in the fill (Fig. 6) is probably a knife blade. These fill layers appear to be Byzantine-period refuse thrown out over the city wall, which lay less than 100 m from the excavation to the northeast.
Above the refuse layers were a floor (L113) and two walls (W100—length c. 3.6 m, width c. 0.5 m, preservation height c. 0.85 m; W101—length c. 2.3 m, width c. 1.3 m, preserved height c. 0.5 m; Figs. 7, 8). The floor is made of crushed chalk mixed with packed earth; an ashlar with a cut notch fixed in the floor probably supported a small column (Fig. 9). The floor appears to have been laid before the construction of the walls but was nevertheless in simultaneous use with them. The accumulations (L104–L107; not on plan) on the floor and above the wall stubs contained pottery dating from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, including glazed bowls (Fig. 5:4), three cooking pots (Fig. 5:5–7), one of which (No. 7) is glazed, and a jug (Fig. 5:8). The floor and wall were built not earlier than the Byzantine period and no later than the Ottoman period.
The stone walls (W109–W111) of the building in which the excavation was conducted cut Floor 113 and Walls 100 and 101. The stone pavers of this building were dismantled during the inspection that preceded the excavation. Stone arches were observed in the foundations of the building (Fig. 10).