Area A (2.0 × 5.3 m). The base of a wall, built of large well-dressed stones (0.5 × 0.6 m), was exposed. The wall (length 16.5 m, height c. 10 m) was found covered almost entirely with later debris. Its visible upper part consisted of smaller stones. The pottery vessels at the base of the wall were mostly from the Mamluk period (thirteenth century CE) and it seems that the wall was constructed in this period to block the entrance to the cave’s void. It is known from historical sources that the cave’s opening was blocked during the Ottoman period in fear of an enemy infiltrating the Temple Mount by way of the cave. It appears that the date of the wall’s construction should be set earlier, based on the finds.


Area B (4 × 4; depth 2.5 m) was opened next to the western wall of the cave, in a place where the shallow rock-cutting offered the possibility to inspect the quarrying methods along the lower sections of the walls. Large stones were vertically cut here and detached from the entire height of the wall.


Area C (4 × 4 m, depth 1.5 m) was also opened next to the western wall of the cave. It was farther away from the opening and practically not disturbed by the debris that spilled into the cave. Thus, the ceramic finds at its bottom were the earliest recovered from the excavation, including mainly potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods and a few fragments from the Iron Age.


Area D (5 × 5 m) was opened in a hall that extended east of the cave’s opening, next to the spot where the winged cherub relief, which Clermont-Ganneau published in the nineteenth century CE, was found. The excavation in this area aimed to examine Clermont-Ganneau’s contention that the work in the quarry had begun in the Iron Age. The large quantities of debris that had penetrated the cave through its opening contained pottery vessels that mostly dated to the Mamluk period. On the bottom of the cave, at a depth of 4 m, were a few potsherds from the Byzantine period and a single bowl fragment from the Iron Age.


Area E (max. dimensions 4 × 9 m) was opened in a hall that extended west, near the cave’s opening. Despite its proximity to the opening’s disturbed area, a stone-slab floor (3 × 5 m) laid next to a bedrock outcrop was exposed. Several perforated holes were hewn through the upper part of the outcrop. The most ancient ceramic artifacts from this area were found in a probe below the floor, dating to the beginning of the first century BCE. Based on the finds, this was probably the area where the quarried stones were loaded and brought outside the cave, after lifting them with ropes that passed through the perforated holes.