During July 2007, a trial excavation was conducted on Ketav Sofer Street in the Giv‘at Sha’ul neighborhood of Jerusalem (Permit No. A- 5185; map ref. NIG 21858/63325; OIG 16858/13325), prior to the construction of a residential building. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Nagar, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), M. Kipnis (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (field photography) and E. Belashov (final plans).
A rectangular cistern was excavated in the northern slope of a hill (4.00 × 5.75 m, max. preserved height 2.6 m; Figs. 1, 2). The cistern was mostly built and plastered and was severely damaged during development work. The southwestern side of the cistern was the hard limestone bedrock, whereas the rest of the sides were built walls (W1–W4), constructed from two rows of large stones with a core of small and medium-sized fieldstones; white lime-based bonding material was discerned between the stones. Only the upper part of Wall 2 was built and an iron drainage pipe (diam. 2 cm), 0.7 m above the floor, was incorporated in the western part of W4. The sides of the cistern were coated with a layer of plaster that consisted of cement and gravel, to which an upper layer of concrete was applied (thickness of two layers c. 5 cm). The floor of the cistern descended to the northwest. No datable finds were discovered in the excavation. Based on its construction, the cistern is dated to the beginning of the British Mandate, when the Giv‘at Sha’ul neighborhood was established in 1919 (Z. Vilnay, Jerusalem, the New City 3:181–183).