During February 2011, an excavation was conducted at Lifta in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-6128; map ref. 218425/633542), prior to quarrying an escape shaft from the main tunnel of the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv railroad line. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Israel Railways, was directed by Y. Zelinger, with the assistance of V. Essman and I. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography) and E. Belashov (plans).
Three excavation areas were opened (A, B1, B2; each c. 15 sq m). A farming terrace, probably built in the Ottoman period, was uncovered in Area A and modern building remains were exposed in the other two areas. The excavation area looks out to the west over the remains of the ancient village of Lifta, which is identified with the biblical site of Mē Neftoah, mentioned as the boundary between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 18:15). A village named Clepesta was built in the Crusader period and continued to exist over the years until 1948.
Area A (Figs. 1, 2). A square (2.5 × 2.5 m) was excavated alongside a farming terrace wall (exposed length 5.7 m, width 0.8 m, max. height 1.1 m). The wall, built of fieldstones and oriented northeast-southwest, was founded on a layer of soil and stones (thickness 0.4–0.8 m). The terrace wall abutted another wall that was built on a bedrock ledge, aligned northwest-southeast (not excavated). Two shallow and parallel rock-cuttings were exposed in the excavated square (the southwestern—0.25–0.30 × 0.73 m, depth 0.18–0.25 m; the northeastern—0.28–0.30 × 0.63 m, depth 0.11–0.18 m). The exposed remains were located on the fringes of the settlement at the site. The farming terrace wall was part of a system of agricultural terraces, probably built by the residents of the Arab settlement over the past several hundred years. The rock-cuttings were probably used as agricultural installations.
Areas B1, B2. Remains of modern buildings, including walls and floors, were exposed in each of the areas. The two buildings were destroyed by the Jerusalem municipality because of illegal construction.