During August–September 2003 a salvage excavation was conducted in the Beit Hanina neighborhood (Permit No. A-3922*; map ref. NIG 22155/63712; OIG 17155/13712). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Bezeq Company, was directed by Z. ‘Adawi, with the assistance of V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), A. Pikovsky (pottery drawing), R. Bar-Nathan (pottery reading), R. Vinitzky (metallurgical laboratory), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass) and G. Bijovsky (numismatics).
A square (4 × 7 m; Fig. 1) was opened at Kh. Hawanit (Survey of Jerusalem, the Northwestern Sector, 2003:46*), c. 500 m northwest of the Tell el-Ful peak. Three strata, dating from the Early Roman to the Byzantine periods were exposed. The finds included several walls and two installations, pottery, glass vessels and coins. The excavation, which did not reach bedrock, was preceded by a salvage excavation conducted by the author in 2000 (Permit No. A-3338) that revealed three rooms, two water cisterns and a section of a roadbed, dating from the Early Roman to the Byzantine periods.
Stratum I (Byzantine period; fourth–sixth centuries CE; Fig. 2)
Three walls (W30, W31, W33) built of various sized, roughly hewn stones, were discovered. Wall 30 (0.7–0.8 m wide) in the north was founded on a layer of fill that consisted of soil and small stones (0.3 m thick; Fig. 1: Section 4-4) and was preserved a single course high. The adjacent W31 and W33 (1 m wide) in the southern part of the square were probably two sides of the same wall, whose connection to W30 is unclear. Wall 31/33 filled and blocked an installation (L320; Figs. 3, 4) that was ascribed to Stratum II. The ceramic finds recovered from W31/33 foundations (Loci 317, 319; 0.3–0.5 m thick; Fig. 1: Section 3-3) included a pipe section fragment dating to the Late Roman period (Fig. 6:22) and a jar from the Byzantine period (Fig. 5:3). Wall 30 was dated to the Byzantine period, just as W31/33, based on its elevation, which was similar to the other wall, as well as the fact that it sealed Wall 34 below it, which belonged to Stratum II. The glass finds in the foundation fill of W34 (L312) was also dated to the Byzantine period.
Other ceramic artifacts that could be ascribed to Stratum I were discovered in the soil fill (L311) west of W31/33 and south of W30. They included two bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), a jar (Fig. 5:4) and a lamp (Fig. 5:5), as well as vessels from the Late Roman period, namely two bowls (Fig. 6:9, 10) and four jars (Fig. 6:14, 16, 17, 19). Numerous fragments of glass vessels dating to the Byzantine and Late Byzantine periods, particularly the sixth–seventh centuries CE, were also found in the fill. These are known from many excavations in Jerusalem and its environs and include bowls with out-folded rims; bowls with rounded rims; bowls or beakers decorated with wound blue trails; wine glasses with rounded rims, decorated with thin, fused-in trails; wine glasses with hollowed ring bases and a fragment of a wine glass with a beaded stem; bottles with rounded rims, a cylindrical neck decorated with wound trails of darker hues than the vessel and concave bases. Also found were fragments of bowl-shaped oil lamps with three handles, bowl-shaped oil lamps with a wick tube in the center of base, oil lamp with hollow conical stem and several fragments of glass window panes.
Stratum II (Late Roman period; second–fourth centuries CE; Fig. 3)
Three walls (W34–W36) and two installations (Loci 305, 320; Fig. 7) were discovered. Wall 34 (0.8 m wide, preserved height 0.8 m) was mostly built of large fieldstones below the foundation of W30 from Stratum I. Wall 34, which abutted W35 in the east (Fig. 1: Section 4-4), had a slight deviation to the north and was built on top of Wall 43, ascribed to Stratum III (Fig. 1: Section 1-1). It seems that W34 was connected to the two-installation complex and delimited it from the north. Wall 35 (width unknown, 1.25 m high; Fig. 1: Section 2-2) was built of small fieldstones and its exterior western side was incorporated in the construction of Installation 320. Wall 36 in the southeastern corner of the square was survived by two stones that formed a corner with W35.
Installation 320 was somewhat elliptical (1.8 × 2.0 m) and plastered. Its exterior wall (W39) was built of two rows of fieldstones and only one row of its northern wall (W37) was preserved. The two walls abutted W35 on the east (Fig. 1: Section 2-2). The floor of Installation 320 consisted of fieldstone slabs and several fired mud bricks. The foundations of Wall 31/33 from Stratum I superposed Installation 320. In a probe (L320A; Fig. 1: Section 4-4) excavated below the installation’s floor, ceramic finds that included a cooking pot (Fig. 6:6) and a jug (Fig. 6:7) dating to the Early Roman period and two bowls (Fig. 6:8, 11), two casserole lids (Fig. 6:12, 13) and a jar (Fig. 6:15) from the Late Roman period were discovered.
Installation 305, adjacent to the western side of Installation 320, was also elliptical (1.0 × 1.2 m). Its exterior wall (W41) was built of a single row of fieldstones and its western part was not excavated. It is unclear whether the several fieldstones discerned at the top level of Installation 305’s blocked it or were used as pavement. The installation yielded ceramic finds dating to the Early Roman period, including two bowls (Fig. 6:1, 2) and two cooking pots (Fig. 6:4, 5), as well as a jar from the Late Roman period (Fig. 6:18). Some glass vessel fragments dating to the Late Roman period could be attributed to this stratum, including a vessel with a pad base and several fragments of bowls with delicate, rounded rims that date to this period or even to an earlier phase in the Roman period.
Stratum III (Early Roman period, until 135 CE)
Wall 43 (0.9 m wide; Figs. 1: Sections 1-1, 3-3, 3), which lies below W34 and deviates slightly in its orientation (Fig. 8), should apparently be ascribed to this stratum. The wall was built of different sized fieldstones and only its upper course was exposed. It was severed by the foundation trench of W35 where a jar (Fig. 6:20) and a jug (Fig. 6:21) dating to the Late Roman period were discovered, as well as pottery from the Early Roman period, including a cooking pot (Fig. 6:3).
Three coins, not found in situ, were identified out of the fourteen coins recovered from the excavation. Two coins are from the Byzantine period; one from the time of Constantius II, dating to the fourth century CE (351–361 CE; IAA 80717) and the second, also dating to the fourth century CE (364–375 CE; IAA 80719). The third coin is dated to the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (80/79–76 BCE; IAA 80718).
Although a limited area was excavated, the uncovered remains show that the site was occupied from the Early Roman until the Byzantine periods, which is consistent with the findings from the previous excavations at the site.