Walls oriented north–south and totaling a length of c. 104 m were discovered along the Nahal Qidron channel (Fig.1). They were apparently meant to prevent the erosion of soil from the slope into the channel, allowing the water to flow freely. The walls (average width 1.0–1.8 m) were preserved to a maximum of c.3.6 m high. They were usually built of two rows of stones, whose outer surface was roughly hewn, and a fill of soil and small stones between them. This was probably a public works project that can be dated to the Late Roman period, based on ceramic finds.


A quarry (length c. 7 m, width 1.5 m; Fig. 2) located in a mass of hard limestone bedrock was discovered next to two of the walls. It should probably be dated to the 1st–2nd century CE, based on the ceramic finds. Some 6–7 m southwest of the quarry, at a higher level, was a surface paved with different-sized fieldstone slabs and dated to the Late Roman period (3rd–4th century CE). Owing to the limited area of the surface, its function could not be determined.


Two rock-cut burial caves (1, 2) were discerned at the bottom of the slope, west of the streambed. Cave 1 consisted of a square burial chamber with arcosolia installed in three of its walls. Cave 2 had a decorated façade entrance; five small niches were hewn above the doorway and a cross was carved between them (Fig. 3). Greek inscriptions were revealed on a stone slab that was used to seal the entrance. The cave comprised a trapezoidal burial chamber with burial benches and a loculus. The finds recovered from Cave 2 and the plans of the two caves indicate that they should be dated to the Byzantine period.


To the south of the two caves, the western wall and part of the northern front of a building were uncovered (Fig. 4). The façade was designed in the shape of an arch, and built of ashlar stones; mason’s marks that are characteristic of the Crusader period were noted on several of its stones. A flood diversion facility dating to the Crusader period was excavated near the building in the past (HA–ESI 112:79*).


To the south of the building and several meters west of the Church of the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, two segments of large tesserae (3 x 3 cm) mosaic floors (Fig. 5) in the section of the trench were revealed. The mosaics were placed atop each other, separated by a soil fill (L155) and two wall sections; the northern extension of the upper floor was disturbed by a pit (L153). Five cist graves and a plastered channel (L156) were exposed in a layer of accumulation (L154; thickness 1.5 m) below the mosaic floors. The tombs (T1–T5) were covered with fieldstone slabs and their walls were coated with white plaster. Although they were not excavated, human bones were discerned in some of them. North of the tombs was a burnt layer (thickness c. 0.15–0.50 m) that extended for a distance of c. 11 m. Fragments of glazed pottery vessels from the Middle Ages were recovered from this layer. North of the mosaics, two other rows of tesserae, one above the other, were encountered. The mosaics and the building probably belonged to the complex of St. Mary’s Abbey that was founded in the 12th century and was excavated in 1937 by Johns.