In July 2008, a trial excavation was conducted on the northern bank of Nahal Og, south of the Shu‘fat refugee camp in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-5447; map ref. 223600–20/635070–5), prior to the construction of the separation fence. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by E.D. Kagan and V. Avrutis, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying and drafting) and Y. Shmidov (plans).
Areas A and B (c. 15 × 30 m; Fig. 1). Quarrying steps from which various-sized stones were produced were identified at the top of the slope. The quarrying in this area almost completely removed the layer of malaki. An unquarried, natural bedrock surface remained in the center of Area B, where three small round cupmarks were found (diam. c. 0.2 m).
Area C. Two walls (W2, W3) were found in this area, which was located near the bottom of the slope. Wall 2 (length 9 m) was built of a row of large fieldstones founded above a layer of alluvium that covered the bedrock; this was probably an ancient field wall that served to delineate the boundary of an agricultural plot. Wall 3 (length 6 m), c. 10 m to the south, descended from the spur east of Nahal Og; it was built of two rows of small fieldstones and quarrying debris, and was preserved to a height of two courses. A sounding (1.5 × 1.5 m) excavated on either side of the wall revealed that it was constructed on the bedrock and was abutted from the east by a layer of alluvium that descended from the top of the spur. The wall was presumably a small dam that was used to prepare the ground for cultivation.
Area D (c. 8 × 20 m; Fig. 2). This area was located at the top of the slope, c. 40 m west of Area A. Two rock-cutting clusters were identified where building stones of various sizes were produced (average dimensions 0.5 × 0.5 × 0.7 m). It seems that the quarrymen fully exploited the upper layer of limestone, which was best suited for building stones. An unstable retaining wall (W1; Fig. 1: Section 1–1) was exposed in the northeast of the area. The wall was lined with fieldstone construction and stone fragments, probably from the quarried stones; it apparently served as a retaining wall for an agricultural terrace that was built on top of the quarry after the latter was no longer in use.
Area E (5 × 6 m), at the bottom of the slope, yielded a quarry similar to the one unearthed in Area D.
A scant amount of pottery sherds that date mainly to the Second Temple period were found in all of the excavation areas. Most of the sherds are small and rounded, and appear to have been washed down the slope. The distribution of the rock-cutting clusters is indicative of brief quarrying episodes, which were probably carried out by different households.
After the quarry was no longer used, part of the slope was utilized for farming; agricultural terraces were built above the quarries and a small dam was constructed in the channel at the foot of the slope. The pottery is insufficient for dating the quarrying and agricultural construction, but is presumably related to the development of the rural settlement in the area of Nahal Og during the Second Temple period.