In January 2016, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Diaspora Yeshiva compound on Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-7600; map ref. 221910-24/631007-14), prior to the construction of a sports field. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Diaspora Yeshiva, was directed by A. Weigmann (field photography), with the assistance of N. Nahama (administration), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), I. Delerson (plan and location map), B. Dolinka (ceramics), I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing), V. Nosikovsky (metallurgical laboratory), D.T. Ariel (numismatics) and C. Amit (studio photography). Supervision of the antiquities inspection at the site prior to the excavation was undertaken by N. Sapir and M. Shor.
A wall (W103; exposed length 6 m; Figs. 2, 3) oriented north–south was exposed, built of two rows of coarsely dressed stones (dimensions of stones 0.10–0.15 × 0.20–0.35 × 0.30–0.40 m) and a small stone-and-soil fill. Pale yellow mortar was smeared haphazardly along the top of the wall and between the joints of some of the stones. The wall was preserved to a height of one course for its entire length. An accumulation of dark brown soil (L99) was discovered below the wall and on both of its sides. Among the items recovered from the accumulation were pottery sherds from the late Ottoman period, a bronze coin dating to the reign of Theodosius I (383 CE; IAA 154646), a bell-shaped lead lamp cover dating to the Ottoman period (Fig. 4) and modern refuse. The bottom part of the lamp cover is decorated with a relief composed of concave triangles on the top of which are small round bumps. The top of the cover is a knob adorned with a relief of radial lines and two knobs on the sides of the cover were used to suspend it from a cord.
After exposing W103, the northwestern part of the square was excavated to a depth of 2 m. Light brown soil fill that was almost entirely devoid of fieldstones (L100; Fig. 5) was discovered below the accumulation in L99, at a depth of c. 0.7 m below the surface. Several animal bones and Ottoman-period pottery sherds were found inside the fill, including a jar rim from the seventeenth–eighteenth centuries CE (Fig. 6:1) and a pipe made of light gray clay dating to the seventeenth century CE (Fig. 6:2). Brown soil fill (L102) mixed with small fieldstones (Fig. 5) was revealed at a depth of c. 1.8 m. A half fals from the time of Anastasius I (498–512 CE; IAA 154647) and pottery sherds, some of them from the Abbasid and Mamluk periods, but the majority from the late Ottoman period, were found inside this fill. These ceramic finds include, among other things, a spout of a black Gaza Ware drinking jug (ibrik) that dates to the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE (Fig. 6:7) and imported porcelain vessels such as a Blue Willow bowl imported from Great Britain (nineteenth century CE; Fig. 6:3), two Kütahya-type coffee cups with a ring base (eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE; Figs. 6:4, 5) and an imported cup from China dating to the Qing dynasty (eighteenth century CE; Fig. 6:6).
Wall 103 was apparently the foundation of a boundary fence of a cultivation plot in the late Ottoman period, at the earliest. The layers of fill revealed in Loci 100 and 102 were intentional deposits of topsoil that had been cleared of stones and thus indicate that the area was used for agricultural activity in the late Ottoman period.
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