In June 2019, a salvage excavation was conducted on ed-Damir Street in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood (Permit No. A-8545; map ref. 221094–169/637186–278; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Abu Zahariya Mafid, was directed by R. Cohen, with the assistance of M. Samhouri (acting excavation director), N. Nehama (administration), N. Sandouka (antiquities inspection and preparation of the area), S. Halevi (photography and photogrammetry), O. Zakaim (plans) and B. Touri.
A large quarry (L100–L105; Figs. 2–4) with two main quarrying levels (A and B) was excavated on the northern slope of the Shu‘fat and Beit Hanina hill ridge. The quarry contains white Judea Group limestone rock from the Nezer Formation. Prior to the excavation, modern debris was removed from above the quarrying area, beneath which were soil fills probably deliberately placed on top of quarrying debris that had accumulated on the bedrock. The quarry is part of a large complex of quarries in the region; additional parts of the quarry and other quarries that have not yet been excavated are located near the current excavation area. Part of the quarry was previously excavated beneath a neighboring house (‘Adawi 2007: Quarry 1).
During the Roman and Byzantine periods and later, two roads passed near the ridge: the Jerusalem–Nablus road and the Jerusalem–Bet Horon–Lod road (Kloner 2000b:37). About one kilometer northeast of the quarry, a section linking the two roads was discovered in the past (Kloner 2000a:19, Site 28). The roads’ proximity to the quarries facilitated the transportation of building stones to Jerusalem and surrounding settlements. Past excavations and surveys conducted in the area discovered many quarries (Kloner 2000a:18, 33, 49, Sites 27, 77, 116 respectively; ‘Adawi 2009: Sites 1, 2, 7, 9–12, 14–19), some of which were dated to the Roman and Byzantine periods (‘Adawi 2007; Mizrahi 2008a; Mizrahi 2008b; Zilberbod 2012; Yeger 2017). Further quarries were uncovered near the current excavation area (Zilberbod 2013a.; Zilberbod 2013b; Zilberbod 2014; Zilberbod 2017; Fig. 1: A-8233, A-8352, A-8474).
L100 (15–20 × 30 m; Fig. 5). On the quarry’s upper level, the stepped rock was uncovered that retained marks of quarrying channels (width 5–15 cm), severance channels (width 3 cm) and stones that were not entirely quarried (Figs. 6–8), possibly because the stone had cracked or broke during the quarrying process. The stones extracted from the quarry had different dimensions (0.25 × 0.55 × 0.75 m; 0.25 × 0.30–0.35 × 0.70 m; 0.75 × 1.20 m).
L101 (16 × 20 m; Fig. 9). Quarrying steps exposed on the upper level of the quarry descended from several directions to a low, flat courtyard. Quarrying channels were identified (width 0.15 m) as well as undetached stones of various sizes (0.35 × 0.40 × 1.00 m; 0.30–0.35 × 0.50 × 0.65 m; 0.40 × 0.85 m; Fig. 10).
L102 (c. 7 × 9 m). High above the quarrying steps in L101, a flat quarrying area was uncovered containing worn quarrying marks.
L103, L104. On the quarry’s lower level, quarrying steps were uncovered (L103; length c. 29 m; Fig. 11) sloping northward with the slant of the slope, which contained signs of the extraction of stones of different sizes (0.30 × 0.35 × 1.60 m; 0.35 × 0.50 m; Fig. 12) together with quarrying channels and severance channels (5 cm wide). One of the severance channels was particularly wide (width c. 0.25 m; Fig. 13). The eastern boundaries of the quarry were not uncovered in this locus. The quarrying steps in L103 descended in a northwest direction to a large, low courtyard (L104; 20 × 27 m; Fig. 14). On its northern side, the courtyard was enclosed by a rock-hewn wall (height c. 2.5 m), and on its western side there was a soil fill that covered the continuation outside the excavation area. A hewn rock cliff (width c. 7.5 m, height c. 7 m) was revealed to the west of L103. Moderate quarrying steps to the west of the cliff sloped northward to Courtyard 104; this area was not excavated due to wastewater flowing through it from a nearby home to its south.
L105 (c. 6.5 × 26 m; Fig. 15). In the quarry’s upper level, stepped quarrying descended southward toward the flat courtyard in L101.
The excavated quarry joins a large complex of ancient quarries in the region that are difficult to date. The meager ceramic finds, the refuse dumped in the quarry, and the modern structures built on top of it hamper the identification of diagnostic data. It was probably used over several periods, but it is not clear whether it was worked continuously or intermittently. The location, quarrying style and accumulations and surface fills of this quarry resemble those of quarries from the Roman and Byzantine periods found nearby in the past.
‘Adawi Z. 2007. Jerusalem, Shikune Nusseiba (A). HA-ESI 119.
‘Adawi Z. 2009. Jerusalem, Shikune Nusseiba (North). HA-ESI 121.
Kloner A. 2001a. Survey of Jerusalem: The Northeastern Sector (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem (Hebrew).
Kloner A. 2001b. Survey of Jerusalem: The Northwestern Sector (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem (Hebrew).
Mizrahi Y. 2008a. Jerusalem, Shikune Nusseiba (A). HA-ESI 120.
Mizrahi Y. 2008b. Jerusalem, Shikune Nusseiba (B). HA-ESI 120.
Zilberbod I. 2012. Jerusalem, Beit Hanina (B) HA-ESI 124.
Zilberbod I. 2013a. Jerusalem, Shu‘fat HA-ESI 125.
Zilberbod I. 2013b. Jerusalem, Shu‘fat, Road 21. HA-ESI 125.
Zilberbod I. 2014. Jerusalem, Highway 21. HA-ESI 126.
Zilberbod I. 2017. Jerusalem, Shu‘fat (Highway 21). HA-ESI 129.