During December 2008, a trial excavation was conducted adjacent to the St. Joseph Hospital (Permit No. A-5554; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the St. Joseph Hospital, was directed by K. Masarwa, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), D. Amit (photography), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), R. Bar Natan (pottery reading), C. Hersch (drawing of finds) and R. Kool (numismatics).
The excavation was carried out along a slope, c. 30 m north of the National Police headquarters. One square was excavated and the remains of a terrace were exposed (Fig. 2). The pottery finds dated to the Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods and the Middle Ages. The numismatic finds dated to the Roman and Early Islamic periods.
A terrace wall (W1; length 4.7, width 0.25 m, height 0.30–0.47 m; Fig. 3), built on top of bedrock that descends northward and preserved three courses high, was exposed. The wall had one neat side, built of medium and large fieldstones, including flint.
The meager ceramic finds included a krater (Fig. 4:1) and a jar (Fig. 4:2), dating to the Iron Age; a bowl (Fig. 4:3) dating to the Early Roman period; bowls (Fig. 4:4, 5) dating to the Byzantine period; bowls (Fig. 4:6, 7) and an incised body fragment (Fig. 4:8) dating to the Early Islamic period; and a bowl (Fig. 4:9) dating to the Late Islamic period.
Nine bronze and copper coins were found; five can be identified and are dated from the Early Roman to the Late Islamic periods. The earliest is a small bronze coin of the praefectus Pontius Pilate, from the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (IAA 119590), dating to 14–37 CE. Another is a small Byzantine coin (IAA 119591) that dates to the years 395–408 CE. Furthermore, an Abbasid fals (IAA 119593) that dates to the ninth century CE and two Mamluk folles from the reign of the Mamluk sultan Faraj (IAA 119592), dating to 1406–1412 CE and the time of Qait Bay, 1468–1496 CE, were found.
The discovery of medium-sized tesserae seems to suggest that a site was located nearby on the slope, from where the potsherds and coins were probably swept together with alluvium.
It seems that an ancient farming terrace, which cannot be dated, was exposed in the agricultural region on the slopes of Nahal Qidron.