In June–July 2019, a salvage excavation was conducted at the parking lot of Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus, opposite the entrance to the neighborhood of el-‘Isawiya (Permit No. A-8551; map ref. 223022/634127; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Hadassah Hospital, was conducted by S. Mizrahi, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), S. Halevi (photography and photogrammetry), A. Rose and A. Litvak (photogrammetry and drafting), N. Katsnelson (glass), A. Lidsky-Reznikov (drawing of pottery) and Y. Billig and L. ‘Oz (inspection).
Numerous rock-cuttings and caves as well as numerous burial caves from the Second Temple period were identified on Mt. Scopus during the survey of Jerusalem (Kloner 2001:106–127). In another survey, conducted south of el-‘Isawiya and along the Mount Scopus–Ma‘ale Adummim road, sites that were included in the Jerusalem survey were documented again, and new sites were discovered; the latter included quarries, caves, burial caves, stone-clearing heaps, columbarium caves, cisterns and terraces (Eirikh-Rose 2010). Salvage excavations conducted in 1999–2000 on the northern and eastern slopes of the Augusta Victoria Ridge uncovered a quarry for building stones and a cave that housed a workshop for stone tools from the Second Temple period (Amit, Seligman and Zilberbod 2002). The Monastery of Theodorus and Cyriacus, which served as a hostel for pilgrims in the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (Amit, Seligman and Zilberbod 2001), was also discovered. Additional quarries near the excavation area were documented on the eastern slopes of Mount Scopus (Billig 2011) and on Churchill Boulevard (Permit No. A-8536). In the area of Wadi Abu Kharub, northeast of the excavation, a burial cave from the Middle Bronze Age II was excavated (Wiegmann and Goldenberg 2019).
Approximately 14 excavation squares were opened (Figs. 2–4), revealing four quarries (1–4) and a rectangular, plastered installation (L122). As only little pottery, most of it worn, was found in the excavation, the original date of use of these remains is unknown, but the plastered installation had a modern phase of use. The quarries extended over a terrain of soft, friable chalk, and they were quarried using severance channels, a method typical of both the stepped and courtyard types of quarries (Sion 2006). Most of the soil that accumulated at the site over the years was removed—almost down to the bedrock, as seen in the trial trenches—by the contractor who carried out earthworks at the site prior to the excavation.
Quarry 1 (L100–L102, L105, L108; 4.1 × 5.1 m; Figs. 3: Section 1–1; 5). In the quarry were marks of stone cutting (L101—0.30 × 0.30 × 0.85 m; L102, L105—0.28 × 0.45 × 0.80 m; L108—0.30 × 0.40 × 0.84 m, 0.3 × 0.5 × 0.7 m) and their severance channels (width c. 0.13 m). East of 102 was a natural, irregular depression in the rock (L112; 1.70 × 3.86 m) filled with brown colluvium containing fieldstones of various sizes and a few worn sherds. A small unquarried area of the rock outcrop was uncovered in the northern part of the quarry (L100). The quarry was covered with light brown colluvium (L102) mixed with small and medium-sized fieldstones and a few sherds. The latter included a fragment of a small, deep Fine Byzantine Ware bowl from the Byzantine period (Fig. 6:1; B1003/1) of Magness’ Type 4:1f (Magness 1993:197–198). The bowl resembles a vessel discovered in the ‘Ophel excavations (Fleitman and Mazar 2015:282, Fig. 158); further parallels were unearthed in the excavations of the Jewish Quarter and nearthe Temple Mount (for full references, see Fleitman and Mazar 2015:236–237).
Quarry 2 (L104, L109–L111; 5.9 × 6.9 m; Figs. 3: Section 2–2; 7). The extensive rock-cutting in this quarry left it looking like a large hewn courtyard. In its northwestern part, the negative of a cut stone could be discerned (0.14 × 0.50 × 0.80 m), as well as a stone that was only partially quarried (0.46 × 0.70 m; width of severance channel 3 cm). Wider areas were identified in the eastern corner of the quarry, where at least two large stones (1.2 × 1.3 m) were hewn. The quarry was covered with an accumulation of light brown colluvium with small and medium-sized stones.
The bedrock near Quarry 2, and in the area between it and Quarry 3, bore no signs of quarrying (L113, L114, L117, L120, L121). The excavation in this area yielded a fragment of a bowl with a wide mouth and a groove under its rim (Fig. 6:2; L113, B1021). No parallels were found for this vessel.
Quarry 3 (L118, L124; Fig. 8). In the southern part of the quarry (L118; 1.28 × 5.00 m) were three quarry steps descending eastward (upper—0.50 × 0.86 m, height 0.6 m; middle—0.38 × 1.58 m; lower —0.7 × 3.2 m, height 0.38 m); it can be discerned that the quarrying of the lower step narrowed considerably the middle step. In the northern part of the quarry (L124; Fig. 3: Section 3–3) were three more quarrying steps; the upper step was rectangular (0.7 × 1.1 m), the middle step was L-shaped (0.68 × 2.86 m, height 0.48 m) and the lower step was square and level (1.28 × 1.70 m, height 0.38 m).
Quarry 4 (L126; 2.7 × 10.1 m; Figs. 3: Section 4–4; 9). Rock-cutting marks of rectangular (0.3 × 0.4 × 0.8 m) and square (0.2 × 0.5 × 0.6 m) stones were found in this quarry, as well as a partially cut stone (0.30 × 0.34 × 0.67 m) with its severance channel. The quarry was covered with an accumulation of light brown colluvium with small and medium-sized stones, a few sherds and the fragment of a factory-produced medicine bottle (B1051), dated to the late Ottoman or the early British Mandate period.
The plastered installation (L122; Figs. 3: Section 5–5; 10) was uncovered between Quarries 2 and 4. It was rock-cut, rectangular (2.24 × 2.48 m, depth 0.77 m) and coated with a several layers of dark hydraulic plaster (thickness of each layer 5 cm). At a later stage, apparently in modern times, a wall of rectangular limestone blocks lined with concrete (W123; length 2.37 m, width 0.7 m) was built inside the installation. The wall reduced the size of the installation and created two square cells (average size 0.48 × 2.00 m). The installation was dug almost down to its floor by mechanical equipment prior to the archaeological excavation, and the little soil left for a manual excavation revealed no datable finds. Thus, the date of the installation remains unknown, but the hydraulic plaster indicates that it was used to hold water or some other liquid. It seems that in modern times the installation was used for underground storage.
Amit D., Seligman J. and Zilberbod I. 2000. Monastery of Theodorus and Cyriacus on Eastern Mount Scopus. In A. Faust and E. Baruch eds. New Studies on Jerusalem 6 (Proceedings of the Sixth Conference, December 7th 2000, Bar-Ilan University). Ramat Gan. Pp. 166–174 (Hebrew).
Amit D., Seligman J. and Zilberbod I. 2001. A Quarry and Workshop for the Production of Stone Vessels on the Eastern Slope of Mount Scopus. Qadmoniot 122:102–110 (Hebrew).
Billig Y. 2011. Jerusalem, Mount Scopus. HA-ESI 123.
Eirikh-Rose A. 2010. Jerusalem, the Slopes of Mount Scopus, Survey. HA-ESI 122.
Fleitman Y.H. and Mazar E. 2015. The Late Roman and Byzantine Pottery from the 2012–2013 Excavation Seasons: Areas Upper A, B, and C. In E. Mazar ed. The Ophel Excavations to the South of the Temple Mount, 2009–2013: Final Reports I. Jerusalem.
Kloner A. 2001. Survey of Jerusalem: The Northeast Sector (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.
Magness J. 1993. Jerusalem Ceramic Chronology: Circa 200–800 CE (JSOT/ASOR Monograph Series 9). Sheffield.
Sion O. 2006. Jerusalem, Mount Scopus (East). HA-ESI 118.
Wiegmann A. and Goldenberg G. 2019. Jerusalem, Mount Scopus. HA-ESI 131.