During September 2004, an excavation was conducted and a section was cleaned east of the Paz Rockefeller gas station in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-4280; map ref. NIG 22260/63228; OIG 17260/13228), after ancient building remains were damaged during the construction of a retaining wall. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by T. De‘adle (photography) and B. Touri, with the assistance of T. Kornfeld (surveying and drafting) and A. Pikovsky (pottery drawing).
Two segments of a built and plastered aqueduct were discerned in the section, cut at the site due to construction (Fig. 1). The aqueduct was founded on bedrock that sloped from south to north. The northern of the two segments (length 11.8 m) was excavated, whereas the southern segment (length 5.5 m) was cleaned. The two segments were separated by a pit that damaged part of the aqueduct (length c. 2.4 m), which was dated to the Byzantine period (fourth–sixth centuries CE), based on ceramic finds.
Parts of the aqueduct’s sides and floor were excavated in the northern segment of the section. The eastern side of the aqueduct, which was built of small fieldstones that were coated with two layers of white plaster, was preserved in the northern part of the segment (L100; 1.1 × 2.2 m, depth 0.2 m; Figs. 1: Section 4-4; 2), as well as the floor of the aqueduct, which was built of small fieldstones and brown soil, set on bedrock and covered with a layer of white plaster (L104). All that survived of the aqueduct’s western side were remains of plaster. The two sides of the aqueduct were exposed in the southern part of the northern segment (L102; 0.6 × 1.6 m, depth 0.4 m; Figs. 1: Section 1-1; 3). They were built on bedrock of plastered and semi-worked fieldstones. The floor of the aqueduct in this part was built of fieldstones and brown soil that were coated with four layers of white plaster. Ceramic material from the Byzantine period (fourth–sixth centuries CE) was recovered from the excavation of the northern segment of the section. A krater of the arched-rim basin type (Fig. 4:1), a Fine Byzantine Ware bowl (Fig. 4:3), a rouletted-type bowl with gouged decoration (Fig. 4:4) and another bowl fragment (Fig.4:5) were discovered above the floor of the aqueduct (L100). A krater fragment of an arched-rim basin type (Fig. 4:2) was discovered between the fieldstones that composed the aqueduct’s floor (L104). Part of the aqueduct’s western side (W1; max. length 5.5 m; Fig. 5), built on bedrock of small fieldstones and soil and plastered, was cleaned in the southern segment of the section. At least five layers of white plaster were discerned on the southern part of this western side (Fig. 1: Section 3-3).
Due to the limited extent of the excavation it was not possible to determine the course of the aqueduct or its purpose; however, based on its declination, it can be assumed that it conveyed water to the north. The repairs of the aqueduct are reflected by the many plaster layers discerned in it.