During February–March 2007, a salvage excavation was conducted at Khirbat ‘Addasa (West) in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem (Permit No. A-5059; map ref. NIG 22220/63720; OIG 17220/13720), following damage to a cistern. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Moriya Company, was directed by Z. ‘Adawi, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), V. Essman (surveying), A. Nagar (GPS), T. Sagiv (field photography), J. Bukengolts (pottery restoration) and I. Lidski-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
A cicular cistern (L102; diam. c. 8.5 m, depth 3.6 m; Figs. 1, 2) was discovered in the current excavation (7 × 7 m). It was hewn in a bedrock surface and part of its ceiling had been damaged by mechanical equipment prior to the excavation. Two openings were set in the cistern’s ceiling (Fig. 3). The first was cut in its center and only its corner survived (L101; 0.50 × 0.75 m, depth 0.65 m); originally, it seems to have been rectangular. The second opening, shaped as a rectangular shaft (L105; 0.8 × 1.2 m, depth 1.2 m), was hewn in the southeastern part of the cistern. Three rock-hewn channels (Loci 110–112; width 0.10–0.15 m, depth 5 cm) to the west of the cistern were coated with a thin layer of gray plaster and conveyed water along a gentle incline to the cistern. Channel 110 was northwest of the cistern (length 2.2 m) and Channel 111 was to its southwest (length 3 m); both converged into Channel 112 (length 0.8 m), which terminated at the opening above the center of the ceiling. The cistern’s bedrock floor was very smooth and its sides were coated with gray plaster mixed with small inclusions, which survived only in the upper part of the cistern. Signs of stone cutting, discerned along the sides of the cistern and on the plaster remains, may be evidence of quarrying that intended to enlarge the cistern.
A hewn rectangular installation (L106; 0.7 × 1.4 m, depth 0.26 m; Fig. 4) was cleaned northeast of the cistern. Although its function is unclear, it seems to have been related to the adjacent cistern. A probably natural channel (L104), which extended in the northeastern side of the cistern, at a level lower than its opening in the center, was cleaned.
The cistern was found filled with large fieldstones and dark brown alluvium that contained fragments of pottery vessels, dating to the end of the Hasmonean and the first half of the Herodian periods (90–30/20 BCE). These included cooking pots (Fig. 5:4, 5), jars (Fig. 5:6–13) and a juglet (Fig. 5:14). A similar assemblage of potsherds mixed with fragments of holemouth jars from Iron II (Fig. 5:1–3) was found in the alluvium layer that covered the ceiling of the cistern and its side opening. A spherical limestone pounding stone (Fig. 5:15) was discovered on the surface. It seems that the cistern was part of the agricultural complex that existed around the nearby settlements of Tell el-Ful and Khirbat ‘Addasa at the end of the Hellenistic and the beginning of the Roman periods.