Remains of building-stones quarries were exposed in most of the excavation areas (Table 1; Figs. 2, 3).
Quarry 1 (L428; Fig. 4). Vertical and horizontal rock-cutting lines were identified. Based on the quarrying marks and severance channels, as well as several stones that were not detached and remained in situ, it was possible to estimate the size of the stones that were produced in the quarry (average dimensions 0.4 × 0.6 m, height c. 0.35 m). An intact cooking pot, dating to the end of the Hellenistic period or the beginning of the Early Roman period (Fig. 5:5), was found in a corner of the quarry (L430).
Quarry 8 (L517; Fig. 6). Quarrying lines were identified, and several stones that were found at the center of the quarry attest to the dimensions of the stones that were produced there (average size 0.4 × 0.4 × 0.4 m).
Quarry 19 (L105; Figs. 7, 8). This quarry extended beyond the limits of the excavation and was only partially exposed. Vertical and horizontal quarrying marks and severance channels (width 0.1 m) were identified. It was possible to estimate the size of the stones produced in the quarry (0.30–0.45 × 0.80 m) based on the quarrying marks, severance channels and two stones that were not detached. A columbarium (below) was hewn within the quarry. The quarry was covered with a fill of light-brown soil devoid of any datable finds. The relationship between the quarry and the columbarium is not clear, but they were presumably hewn at the same period. Building stones were quarried from the columbarium as well as from the quarry. The other quarries were found below the remains of agricultural terraces. Fragments of glass vessels that were discovered in Quarry 4 (L369) date to the Byzantine period (Y. Gorin-Rosen, pers. comm.) as do the late ceramic artifacts that were found in some of the quarries (for example, jar; Fig. 8:9).
Remains of other, similar quarries were identified, in which the quarrying marks and severance channels indicate production of a range of building stones.
Table 1. Quarries. 
Average Size (sq m)
426, 428, 430
253, 521
104, 106
Rock-hewn Installations
Thirty-nine assorted rock-hewn installations (0.5 × 0.8 m, average depth 0.6 m; Figs. 10–12) were discovered in the bedrock. Most were rectangular, several were square or elliptical, and three were circular (L615, L647, L653). Like the quarries, the installations were scattered throughout the excavation area, with a high concentration in Area F, where twenty-six installations, mostly rectangular were located. Some of them were adjacent to natural depressions in the rock, which may have been used themselves as installations (L613, L617, L629, L636, L638), especially the smaller ones (L615, L646–L648, L651). Some of the installations were hewn inside these depressions (L627, L636). Another concentration of similar installations was discovered in Areas C, D and E (L345, L416–L418, L420, L425, L427, L429, L431, L513, L514, L516, L518–L521; Fig. 2). Installations 427, 431 (Figs. 13, 14) and 514 were hewn inside quarries, indicating that they postdate them.
Agricultural Terraces
Remains of retaining walls of agricultural terraces were exposed in Area C. Two parallel walls stand out (W33, W35; average distance between the walls 0.75 m). Sections of other walls (e.g. W36, W37) that were uncovered did not form part of the overall plan, and are seemingly later. Wall 35 (exposed length 45 m; Fig. 2, Section 1–1) was built of fieldstones laid directly on the bedrock. It was aligned east–west, with minor deviations that conform to the contour lines of the slope, and was preserved to a height of a single course. The bedrock was hewn and leveled prior to the construction in several places. The soil fill adjacent to the northern and southern faces of the wall contained some collapsed stones and two coins were discovered in it, one dating to the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (IAA 115748) and the other possibly from the time of the Hasmonean dynasty (?) (IAA 115747). In addition, ceramic artifacts were recovered that date to the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, including bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), cooking pots (Fig. 5:4, 5) and jars (Fig. 5:6, 9–12, 14, 15). Slightly south of the wall, a pale yellowish white surface was exposedת and in the overlaying fill was pottery that dates to the end of the Hellenistic and the beginning of the Early Roman periods, including cooking pots (Fig. 5:3, 7). Fragments of glass vessels that date to the Byzantine period (Y. Gorin-Rosen, pers. comm.) were discovered in a trial trench excavated in the wall (L336). Wall 33 (exposed length 30 m) had two faces of fieldstones, with a fill of soil and very small stones between them; the wall was constructed on a higher level than W35, after the latter had gone out of use, and it therefore postdates W35. It was founded on soil fill that had washed from the upper part of the slope. Fragments of glassware from the Byzantine period (Y. Gorin-Rosen, pers. comm.) were found in a trial trench (L367) that was excavated in the wall. Wall 34 (exposed length 1.2 m, width 1.1 m), perpendicular to W35 and abutting it, was founded on alluvial fill. It was constructed of two rows of fieldstones. Another wall (W41; length 3 m, width 0.7 m), oriented north–south, was exposed at the western end of W33, which it severed. Its construction was similar to that of W34, with two faces of fieldstones and an earthen core. Wall 41 was built at a higher level than W35, on a fill consisting of quarrying debris (L285), which yielded ceramic artifacts from the Byzantine period, including bowls (Fig. 9:2, 5) and jars (Fig. 9:8, 9). Similar finds were discovered in the fill adjacent to the western side of the wall. The later walls, W36 (length 4.5 m, width 06 m) and W37 (length 4 m, width 0.4 m), were built of two rows of fieldstones founded on the bedrock. In the layers of earth abutting the walls from the south were pottery sherds that date to the Byzantine period, including bowls (Fig. 9:1, 3, 4, 6, 7) and lamps (Fig 9:10–12). Other finds include two coins, one dating to the second half of the fifth century CE (IAA 115766) the other to the fifth–sixth centuries CE (IAA 115767). In the fills that covered the walls, which were apparently washed from the south, were two coins: one from the time of Alexander Jannaeus (IAA 115765) and one that dates to 395–408 CE (IAA 115764). Many other coins that originated in this alluvium were found in the fill between W33 and W35 and in the fills that covered the two walls, or were next to them, and also in the adjacent squares (Table 2: IAA 115749–115752, 115754–115756, 115758–115760, 115762, 115768–115771).
Table 2. Coins from the alluvium.
Marcian, 450–457 CE
Antiochus III, ‘Akko mint
Leo I, 457–474 CE
383 CE
351–361 CE
Fourth-fifth centuries CE
Justinian I, Carthage mint
Fourth century CE
Hasmonean dynasty
Alexander Jannaeus
Silver obol, possibly from the Samaria mint
383–395 CE
Fourth–fifth centuries CE
450–550 CE
Two caves (A, B; Figs. 15, 16) were exposed at the northern edge of Area F. They were partially destroyed when the modern Jerusalem to Bethlehem road was constructed. A hollow hewn in the upper part of the ceiling in the western cave (A) apparently served as an entrance shaft. Two probes were excavated in the caves (L801, L852) exposing their floor (0.4 m below the level of the road) and a soil fill which contained modern finds and a small quantity of ceramics that cannot be dated, except for a FBW bowl fragment (not drawn) from the Byzantine period.
The columbarium (L107; Figs. 7, 18, 19) was hewn in soft limestone rock. It was entered by way of a vertical shaft (L103, length c. 2.75 m, width 0.85–1.05, depth 0.8–1.2 m; Figs. 20, 21) that was hewn in its ceiling. Long narrow recesses were cut in the four sides of the shaft. Two recesses were hewn in the northern side, one above the other (upper: 0.2 × 1.8 m, depth 0.1 m; lower: 0.20 × 0.65 m, depth 0.1 m). Similar recesses were hewn in the opposite, southern side. One recess (0.20 × 0.85 m, depth 0.2 m) was cut in the eastern side, and a similar one (0.17 × 0.70 m, depth 0.2 m) in the western side. The recesses may have accommodated a cover made of wood or stone slab, which allowed the pigeons to enter the columbarium, but prevented the entry of unwanted animals and dirt. The shaft led to a trapezoidal chamber (3.30–3.45 × 3.90–4.20 m, max. height 2.6 m) whose ceiling was damaged and was uneven due to the friableness of the rock. The floor of the chamber was a leveled rock surface. Small niches (c. 0.2 × 0.2 m, depth 0.2 m; Figs. 22–24) were hewn in the four walls, arranged in three to five rows, each with a different number of niches. The spaces between the niches and between the rows were uniform, with some exceptions, of niches whose dimensions were different, probably because of the friable bedrock. A step (width 0.2–0.4 m, height c. 0.3 m) was constructed along the walls by the floor of the chamber.
The chamber was filled with earth that contained pottery sherds, glassware, coins and dozens of building stones, including several fragments of architectural elements that had been discarded into the installation (see below). The pottery included bowls dating to the Iron Age II (Fig. 25:1–4), jars ascribed to the Persian period (Fig. 25:5) and to the end of the Hellenistic-Hasmonean period (Fig. 25:6–8), a large cooking bowl and jug from the Early Roman period (Fig. 25:9, 10) and bowls from the Byzantine period (Fig. 25:11, 12). The glass finds included a fragment of a bowl or cup dating to the Roman period, probably from the second century CE (N. Katsnelson, pers. comm.). The numismatic finds included four coins that could be identified: two from the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (IAA 123032, IAA 123035), one from the Roman period (first–third centuries CE; IAA123034) and one from the Byzantine period (fifth–sixth centuries CE; IAA 123033).
Architectural Elements. Five pieces of broken soft limestone were found, apparently parts of two or three items; delicate decorations were carved along their edges and surfaces and round “windows” (diam. 7–10 cm) were drilled in them. Three fragments (Fig. 26:1–7) probably belong to one item (more than 0.5 m long, c. 0.47 m wide). One fragment is decorated on one side with a series of X’s inside a double rectangular frame (Fig. 26:5), and on the other side with two spirals on two sides of a triangle flanked by ears of corn or palm fronds (Fig. 26:6). Another fragment was decorated with a meander pattern formed inside a carved rectangular frame (Fig. 26:7). The two other pieces probably belonged to two different architectural elements. In one of the pieces were small holes (diam. 7 cm; Fig. 27) that were drilled inside two frames: one rectangular and the other circular, enclosed within double incised lines. The second fragment was apparently decorated with a cornucopia design (Fig. 28). It is possible that the items were originally parts of lavish furnishings, perhaps tables, similar to the ones discovered in the “Burnt House”, in the excavations of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem (Avigad 1980:167–173; Geva 2010:82). A similar slab without decoration was found in a comparable installation at Shivta (Hirschfeld and Tepper 2006:93; Fig. 9). In addition, fragments of two decorated ashlars (Fig. 29:1–6) were found. The architectural elements may have originally come from a luxurious house, a farm or villa which operated the columbarium.
The remains that were exposed are indicative of a developed agricultural system that was built along the steep slopes northeast of the Sherover Promenade and the Armon Ha-Naziv neighborhood, and they were probably associated with an agricultural settlement that existed in the area over several periods. The remains may be of the Hellenistic settlement that was discovered in East Talpiyot, west of the excavation areas (Billig 1996; Re’em 2000; Solimany and Barzel 2008). It is also possible that they were related to another settlement or a farmhouse that was situated at the top of the slope to the south. Judging by the many assorted artifacts and pottery that were found in it so far, this settlement existed during the Iron Age II, and given on the obol (Table 2: IAA 115768), which was discovered in the fill that covered the remains, the settlement, may have continued to exist in the Persian period. The fols (IAA 115753) and three coins that could not be identified precisely (IAA 115757, 115761, 115763) indicate that the settlement, which constituted part of Jerusalem’s agricultural hinterland, continued uninterrupted in the Roman, Byzantine and Abbasid periods. The quarries are the earliest remains. Some of them predate the installations and agricultural terraces, and based on the ceramic finds discovered in the eastern part of Area D, they date to the end of the Hellenistic and beginning of the Early Roman periods. The quarries in the central part of the site, in Area C, on the other hand, cannot be earlier than the Byzantine period, and were probably contemporary with the northern retaining wall (W33). The installations were discovered throughout the excavation areas and no datable artifacts were found in them. In the eastern part of the site they cancelled Quarry 1, which was dated to the end of the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, and were therefore apparently built after this time. Such installations are rare in the ancient agricultural landscape of Jerusalem and no similar ones have been found in the area. Their proximity to winepresses suggests that they may have been used for planting vineyards and were part of a phenomenon known as “hewn vineyards” which until now have only been documented in Samaria (Zertal 1999). The parallel retaining walls were built above the quarries and the installations, probably in two different periods. The columbarium is part of this agricultural complex and joins numerous similar installations that were exposed in the area of Jerusalem (Kloner 2003:31). Other installations were documented and excavated in recent years (Sion 2006; Zilberbod 2008; Kagan and Eirich-Rose 2012); most of them were rock-hewn, like the installation under discussion, and some were built. These installations first appeared in the Hellenistic period (third–first centuries BCE) and most are dated to the first century BCE–first century CE (Kloner 1996:29–30). They were designed for raising pigeons for food and as sacrifice in the Temple, and provided fertilizer for agriculture. The numerous installations that were uncovered indicate that they played an important part in the economy of the agricultural sector of Jerusalem and its environs. Based on the pottery and the numismatic finds from the installation, it can be dated to the Hellenistic and Roman periods; however, it is not clear when it went out of use. The latest finds that were discovered inside it, date to the Byzantine period, and may indicate the time of its construction or its continued use during this period. It is also possible that the latest finds were discarded inside the installation together with the architectural elements in the Byzantine period, when the installation was no longer in use.