Quarries — Iron Age or Early Roman Period
The earliest remains discovered in the excavation area belong to an ancient quarry on the slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem (L9588; Fig. 2). A small section (2.0 × 2.5 m) consisting of quarrying steps and severance channels was exposed. The quarrying steps extended from the northwest to the southeast, perpendicular to the natural bedrock slope in the area of the excavation. The size of the quarried stones could be reconstructed on the basis of the negatives left in the bedrock (average dimensions: length 0.75 m, width 0.5 m). A wall foundation (W958; Fig. 3) extending along a north–south axis was constructed over the quarry. Since the quarry predates W958 it predates the Roman cardo as well, as its paving stones (L9564) are above W958.
It was impossible to accurately date the quarry other than concluding that it predates the second century CE, when the Roman cardo was constructed (below). Its orientation resembles that of quarries from the First and Second Temple periods that were discovered c. 40 m to the north (Weksler-Bdolah et al. 2009). Furthermore, it significantly differs from the straight quarrying lines running in a north–south direction that were uncovered in the previous excavation season west of Quarry 9588, which are related to the construction of the eastern cardo (Fig. 2). It therefore seems that the part of the quarry revealed in Quarry 9588 should be dated to the First Temple period and/or the Second Temple period.
Wall Constructed Above the Quarries — Roman Period(?)
A foundation course of a north–south wall (W958; length 2 m, width 1.1 m, height 0.4 m; see Figs. 2, 3) was discovered on the hewn bedrock, c. 1.5 m below the level of the cardo. It seems that the courses of the wall above the foundation and the stones of the cardo that were placed above it were robbed in the past. The short section that was exposed was insufficient for determining whether W958 was built in the Late Roman period as a retaining wall for the earthen fill on which the street was founded or was part of an earlier structure, from either the First or the Second Temple periods.
The Eastern Roman Cardo — Late Roman Period (Second Century CE)
The floor of the eastern cardo (L9546; average elevation 726 m asl) was well preserved where it intersected with a perpendicular street leading eastward (L4108). The cardo’s paving stones (street elevation 726.0–726.1 m asl) were well preserved (length 1.2 m, width 1 m, thickness 0.3–0.4 m) and placed diagonally to the axis of the street, as in the northern part of the cardo unearthed in the excavation area. Most stones had a smoothed surface, but several of the stones, set in between the others, bore parallel grooves; these stones were probably a later addition. The main drainage channel that continued to be used until 1967 (Fig. 4) was exposed in the past below the paving stones. Several paving stones were missing, and repairs to the pavement with smaller stones were evident where a modern manhole was built above the channel.
The Early Islamic Period (Second Half of the Seventh Century – Ninth/Tenth Century CE)
The first building that reduced the width of the cardo by about half was constructed during this period. The structure was erected on the western half of the Roman cardo and extended over the western colonnade; its eastern wall was built along the street (Figs. 4, 5). The main part of the building was discovered in the past, to the north of the current excavation. A plastered installation found inside the building incorporated architectural elements in secondary use, including a large Byzantine stone lintel engraved with a cross (Fig. 6). Repairs to the wall and several floors that were laid one above the other belong to this period. The street level outside of the building was raised by about one meter, with soil fill topped by a plaster floor. The changes can be attributed to repairs that were made following earthquakes, which are known from historical sources.
The Ayyubid and Mamluk Periods (Thirteenth–Fifteenth Century CE)
In this phase, a large building with rooms was constructed west of the street, above the remains of the Early Islamic building. The structure’s outer eastern wall (W951) was erected built above the Early Islamic wall. A wide threshold stone marked an entrance set in the wall; it led from the street level (elevation 727.66 m asl; Figs. 7, 8) into the structure. Parts of two rooms — northern and southern — were excavated. The floor of the northern room, which was partially unearthed in previous seasons, was constructed of flagstone, most of which were in secondary use (L9527; elevation 727.30 m asl). The southern room had several plaster floors, one above the other. No distinct street level could be identified in this phase, but its elevation at the entrance to the building had to be 727.30–727.40 m asl, c. 1.3 m above the street level in the Roman period.
The Ottoman Period – Modern Era (Fifteenth–Twentieth Century CE)
During this phase, new floors were installed inside the Early Islamic building. A twentieth-century tile floor was exposed in the northern room (L9053; Figs. 9–11), and a flagstone pavement (L9500; 728.59 m asl) that was installed in the nineteenth century and continued to be in use until 1967 was exposed in the southern room. A doorway was fixed in the wall separating the two rooms (Fig. 10). A section of concrete pavement (L9051, elevation 728.68 m asl) was discovered along the course of el-Wad street. A poured concrete manhole was set into the street; it led to the main drainage channel of the street dating back to the Roman period.