Quarry QI (c. 15 × 20 m; Figs. 4–6). Three of the quarry’s walls were exposed: the northern (depth c. 2 m), western (depth c. 1.5 m) and southern (depth c. 0.5 m). The eastern wall was situated outside the limits of the excavation. Quarrying steps (depth 0.5–1.5 m) preserving the negatives of large stones (L214, L228; c. 2.0 × 2.5 m) were identified. A large boulder (L212; c. 3 × 5 × 6 m) bearing chisel marks was uncovered in the northeastern part of the quarry; it was apparently left in its place because of the numerous gaping cracks in it. The bedrock in the east of the quarry also exhibited numerous fissures that made it impossible to hew large stones; the quarrying thus continued on an upper (L215) and lower (L223) level, further down the slope to the southwest. Pickaxe marks, quarrying channels and small depressions (average dimensions 0.25 × 0.30, depth c. 0.1 m) were discovered on the bedrock in these levels. Pottery sherds, including a fragment of a bowl dating from the Roman period (Fig. 7:1), were found on the upper level, beneath quarrying chips and near the quarrying channel.
Quarry QII (c. 40 × 50 m; Figs. 8, 9) was flanked by field walls and modern fences built of small stones that were cleared from the cultivation plots near the quarry. In the center of the quarry was a rock-cut courtyard (c. 10 × 10 m, max. depth 5 m) surrounded on all sides by three–five quarrying steps (each 1.0–1.5 m deep). An opening (L432; length c. 7 m, width c. 5 m) located in the northwest of the quarry was apparently intended for transporting the stones that were produced there. A small karstic cave (L425; c. 1.5 × 2.0 m, height c. 1.5 m; Fig. 10) was discovered in the quarry’s northeastern corner. The quarrying in this area was halted due to the soft limestone bedrock and the karstic weathering. Quarrying channels (L421; length c. 2.5 m) and negatives of stones that had been removed (L412, L414–L416, L418–L420, L428, L429, L440, L441) were identified in the quarry. Large boulders (c. 2.0 × 2.5 × 3.0 m) at various stages of stone dressing remained in the quarry and were never removed (L433, L439). Several depressions (L422–L424, L426; diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.15 m) were also preserved, probably hollows meant to secure wooden beams for lifting installations. In the quarrying debris that was found on the steps and at the bottom of the quarry were several pottery sherds, including fragments belonging to a bowl (Fig. 7:2), a cooking pot (Fig. 7:3) and jugs (Fig. 7:7, 8) from the Early Roman period.
In the northwest corner of the quarry, an assemblage of metal tools (L432; Fig. 11) related to the quarrying processes was discovered. These include a hammer (Fig. 12:1), three chisels (Fig. 12:2–4) and a pair of small, square jaw-like metal plates (length 5.5–8.0 cm, width 4–6 cm, average thickness 0.5 cm). A metal stake was also found inside a severance channel (L421; Fig. 12:6).
Quarry QIII (c. 20 × 25 m; Figs. 13–15), like Quarry QII, was surrounded by field walls that were associated with modern agricultural activity. The quarry’s eastern wall and parts of its northern and southern walls were exposed. Three–four steps reaching an overall depth of 4 m were hewn in the walls. Stones similar in size to those produced in Quarry QII were hewn here. In the southeastern part of the quarry was a large boulder (L332; 2.5 × 3.0 × 6.0 m) that had been in the process of being detached, but was left in situ due to fissures. A few potsherds were discovered in the quarry, including cooking pots from the Roman period (Fig 5:6, 7).
Road F14 (Figs. 16–18). Two parallel walls (W41, W42; length c. 120 m, width of each wall 1.0–1.2 m), built of small and medium fieldstones, protruded from the surface between Quarries QI and QII. Two sections were excavated along the walls, yielding as many as four foundation courses (width c. 2.0–2.5 m) constructed of large fieldstones set on bedrock. A bedrock surface (width c. 2 m) leveled with a layer of tamped earth and small stones (L401) was exposed in between the walls’ foundation courses. Several pottery sherds were discovered in the leveled layer, including a juglet from the Early Roman period (Fig. 7:9). A trial square was excavated next to the outer face of the walls, exposing a layer of dark brown soil that contained small and medium fieldstones and sherds dating from the Early Roman and Byzantine periods. The artifacts and the difference in width of c. 1 m between the walls’ foundations and that its upper courses point to at least two construction phases. In the initial phase, probably during the Early Roman period, the walls retained the road that was used to transport the stones from the quarries to the construction sites. In a later phase, possibly in the Byzantine period, they were integrated in the system of retaining walls for the terraces in and around the quarries.
A massive wall (W31; length c. 60 m, width c. 2.5 m, height c. 3 m; Figs. 19, 20) that survived to a height of nine courses was exposed beneath a layer of soil erosion (depth 1 m) at the bottom of the slope. The wall, founded on bedrock, was built of two rows of medium and large fieldstones (average dimensions: 0.55 × 0.65 m, 0.9 × 1.1 m respectively) with a core of small stones in between. The wall was retained along its northern side, facing the slope, by a fill of small and medium stone (L302, L308). A layer of topsoil mixed with several small fieldstones (L304, L307, L309) was exposed near the southern face of the wall. Beneath this layer was a rock-hewn channel (L305; length 3 m, width c. 0.1 m, depth c. 0.2 m) that ran parallel to the wall. Mid-way along the wall, c. 1.5 m above bedrock, was a small opening (L310; c. 0.45 × 0.50 m; Fig. 21), through which surplus water probably flowed down the slope. It seems that the wall was erected in order to retain the agricultural plot to the southeast. A coin dating from the reign of Emperor Tiberius (9–18 CE; Jerusalem mint; IAA 143319) was discovered in the layer of soil that covered the wall. Pottery sherds found slightly north of the wall included a cooking pot from the Roman period (Fig 7:4), as well as a curved key with teeth (Fig. 22:1) and a nail (Fig. 22:2).
The quarries excavated in Area A, like those previously documented and studied in northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, were part of an area that was known as Jerusalem’s ‘City of Quarries’ during the Second Temple period. The area selected for quarrying has maleke-type limestone, which was easily cut and hardened immediately upon being hewn. Furthermore, since the area was topographically higher than the Second Temple-period city, it was ostensibly easy to transport the heavy along the slope to the construction areas. After the quarries were no longer in use, the quarrying lines and the road were most likely utilized during the Byzantine period for the construction of field walls and retaining walls in the agricultural areas.
The finds from Area B are indicative of activity that transpired during the Roman period. The two excavation areas were situated far apart, and the relationship between them is unclear.