During September 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Beit Hanina quarter of Jerusalem, on the southern slope of Khirbat ‘Addasa (Permit No. A-6612; map ref. 220440/638950; Fig. 1), following the discovery of antiquities in trial trenches (D. Yeger) prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by S. Abu Yunis, was directed by B. Monnickandem-Givon, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), A. Peretz (field photography and identification of World War I artifacts), S. Al-‘Amlah (metal detection), D. Ben-Ami (scientific guidance), B. Touri (acting East Jerusalem district archaeologist), and E. Belashov (drafting).
A shallow quarry (depth 0.15–0.60 m; Fig. 2), cut into two bedrock terraces, was exposed.The lower terrace was on the southern side of the area and the upper terrace was on its northern side. The rock-cutting was mostly done to a depth of one quarrying step. One quarrying step was discovered on each of the bedrock terraces (L11, L12) and on each step were the negatives of severed stones, separating and detachment channels and stones that were not detached (Figs. 3–5). A natural non-quarried surface was located between the bedrock terraces (Fig. 3). A rock-cut installation (L13; 0.5×1.0 m, depth 0.7 m; Fig. 6), whose purpose is unknown, was discovered in the western part of Bedrock Terrace 12.It might have been used for storing vessels or water.Similar installations were previously discovered in the context of quarries in Jerusalem (HA-ESI 122). The shaft that descended to the cave was found in the western part of the area (L14), and around it were rock-cuttings indicating the separating and detachment of stones (Fig. 7).Signs of rock-cuttings were discovered on the three bedrock terraces just north of the shaft opening (Fig. 8). Other signs of quarrying activity were noted in the eastern part of the excavation area (L15). Evidence of separating and detachment channels along the edges of the quarrying was noted, but no negatives of detached stones in the bedrock (Fig. 9).
It seems that the stones removed from the quarry measured c. 0.4×0.7 and were 0.3 m high. This is based on the stones that were not detached, the dimensions of the negatives and the height of the separating step in L14.The separating channels were 10 cm wide.
There was fill consisting of modern refuse and a few worn potsherds, some of which were ribbed, from the surface down to bedrock. Only one fragment of a bowl could be dated to the Roman period. Compacted quarrying debris mixed with reddish brown soil was sometimes discovered on the bedrock.
Part of a shallow quarry was exposed in the excavation. With the exception of one potsherd from the Roman period, no dateable finds were discovered. This is one of the quarries located in the north of Jerusalem and it served the residents of the region during the Roman and Byzantine periods. The site was fired upon by British artillery during World War I.
Special Find—A Shrapnel Shell
A shrapnel shell (diam. 84 mm, length 0.238 m) dating to World War I was found during the excavation.It was fired from a British 18 pound cannon—the most common field artillery piece used in the British army during World War I.Found near the shell was the ignition tube, a steel disc and c. 160 shrapnel balls (diam. 122.5 mm; Fig. 10), out of a total of 210–360 shrapnel balls that were in a regular shell.The time fuse was not found.The location of the shell’s components in such a small area indicates two possibilities: a technical malfunction in the shell may have caused only a partial detonation, causing only the separation of the fuse, or an imprecise setting of the fuse that caused the shell to explode near the ground or when it struck the ground.
The shell probably came from the hills behind Nebi Samuil.It is known that a battery of 18 pound cannons (six artillery pieces) was deployed on a hill southeast of the village of Biddu,on the last day of the battle of Nebi Samuil (November 19–24, 1917).At the same time, there were artillery batteries on other hills during the fighting that took place in this region until the fall of Jerusalem on December 9, 1917. Another possibility for the firing of the shell was when the British advanced from Jerusalem toward the Dead Sea and Ramallah after the capture of Jerusalem; this campaign was completed during the January 1918 (Falls 1930).The shell was probably shot toward the Turkish artillery batteries that were on the hill of Khirbat ‘Addasa, and the British objective was to silence them.The Turkish batteries were deployed in Qalandiya, Beitunia, Beit Hanina, Shu‘fat and Tel el-Ful.The British might also have bombarded the Turkish infantry positions at Khirbat ‘Addasa.