During October 2006, a survey preceding development was conducted in the area between the Giv’at Massu’a neighborhood and Moshav Ora (Permit No. A-4893; map ref. NIG 21530–80/62890–930; OIG 16530–80/12890–930), prior to the paving of a road. The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Moriya Company, was directed by A. Eirikh-Rose, with the assistance of M. Birkenfeld and I. Pasternak.
Approximately 50 dunams were surveyed along the slopes east of the Qiryat Menahem neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem (Fig. 1). Nineteen sites, including remains of a building, a watchtower, a rock-hewn burial cave, agricultural installations and a terrace complex, were documented, all dating to the Second Temple, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
Rectangular building (Site 14; 2.5 × 6.0 m, preserved height c. 2 m; Fig. 2) that is built of roughly hewn medium and large-sized fieldstones and has a window and two openings. A complex of terraces is adjacent to it.
Round watchtower (Site 16; diam. c. 2 m, preserved height c. 1.5 m) that is built of roughly hewn medium to large-sized fieldstones. A rock-hewn channel is adjacent to it.
Rock-hewn burial cave (Site 19) that is incorporated in a quarry (Fig. 3). It includes a burial chamber and kokhim and its entrance was destroyed. A natural cave (Site 5), used by shepherds as a dwelling or for storage, was also surveyed.
Agricultural installations that included two rock-hewn winepresses and an olive press (Sites 11, 18, 13 respectively) and a relatively extensive scattering of other rock-cuttings throughout the area (Sites 1–4, 10, 15) were documented.
An agricultural system that consisted of a number of terraces (preserved height 1.5 m) with steps built between them (Site 12; Fig. 4) was surveyed. Several other terraces (Sites 6–9) were documented across the slopes, as well as a wall that most likely delimited cultivation plots and/or animal pens (Site 17).
The numerous sites, relative to the size of the surveyed area, indicate that the area functioned as part of Jerusalem’s agricultural hinterland for a lengthy period of time.