During April–May 2010, a trial excavation was conducted in Tel Aviv (Permit No. A-5904; map ref. 177846–58/664051–63), in the wake of identifying ancient remains prior to the construction of a residential tower. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ofer Brothers Engineering and Development Company, Ltd., was directed by A. Bouchenino, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam and E. Bachar (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), C. Amit (studio photography), I. Shmidov (final plan), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), O. Raviv (conservation) and M. Sharon (inscription reading).
The excavation area is located in the Mea She‘arim neighborhood that no longer exists, which was situated west of Kerem Ha-Temanim and north of Manshiya. Remains of a building (Figs. 1, 2), a scant amount of potsherds from the Late Ottoman period and a gravestone were exposed.
A rectangular room, whose walls were founded on hamra, was exposed. They were built of two rows of dressed kurkar and a debesh core of small and medium-sized fieldstones (W10—length 5 m, width 0.5 m; W11—length 3.2 m, width 0.6 m; W12—length 4.6 m, width 0.45 m; W13—length 1 m, width 0.45 m; W14—length 3 m, width 0.7 m). The walls were preserved seven–eight courses high (1.8 m). Small fieldstones and mortar made of clayey hamra were inserted between the building stones in the walls. Remains of white plaster were discerned on some of the building stones (Fig. 3). The western part of W14 collapsed into the room. The floor of the room (L104) was a thin layer of white plaster (thickness 6 cm). The entrance to the room was set in the eastern side (L105; width 0.7 m; Fig. 5). A window was probably installed at the western end of W14. A kurkar gravestone (0.14 × 0.23 m, thickness 0.13 m; Fig. 6) was discovered to the north of W14; it was poorly preserved and the inscription engraved on it was illegible. The ceramic artifacts recovered from the room dated to the Late Ottoman period and included a green-glazed plate (Fig. 7:1), a gray Gaza ware krater with a broad ledge rim (Fig. 7:2) and three baggy-shaped jars (Fig. 7:3–5). It seems that the room was a cellar of a building, which dated to the beginning of the twentieth century CE and was part of the Mea She‘arim neighborhood.