During November 2006, a salvage excavation was conducted within the Jisr ez-Zarqa antiquities site (Permit No. A-4906; map ref. 192266–86/716004–62). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Mr. S. Elbaz, was directed by A. Shadman, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography) and P. Gendelman (pottery reading).
Two areas (A, B; c. 10 × 80 m) were opened and a plastered, rock-hewn aqueduct and quarries were discovered.
A section of a rock-hewn aqueduct was discovered. In places where bedrock was higher than the top of the channel, a groove was hewn in its lip so as to form a kind of shoulder for the placing of stone covering slabs (Fig. 1). A burial cave, not completely quarried, was discovered c. 2 m west of the aqueduct.
The continuation of the above-mentioned channel was exposed c. 15 m south of the section that was revealed in Area A (elevation 9 m above sea level, bottom width 0.3 m, width at top of plaster 0.6 m, max. depth 3 m; Fig. 2). The bottom part of the channel was plastered (to a height of 1.2 m). A quarry (2.5 × 4.0 m) that negated the use of the aqueduct was exposed east of the channel and another quarry (2.5 × 4.5 m) was excavated south of the channel.
The finds recovered from the channel were mixed with modern material and therefore the aqueduct’s use cannot be dated. The discovered potsherds dated to the Persian and Byzantine periods and it seems that they were brought to the area as a result of modern activity.
The two sections of the channel are part of a rock-hewn aqueduct, whose date is unknown.
J. Porath, who investigates the methods of water supply to Caesarea, visited the excavation and suggested that the aqueduct was a failed attempt to bypass the kurkar ridge (Phase C of the aqueduct to Caesarea) and it was never completed. This explains why the continuation of the aqueduct to the north was not discovered and no remains that could be part of this aqueduct were found east of the kurkar ridge. At some point in time, after the aqueduct was hewn, the area was used for quarries that probably supplied building stones to the adjacent sites.