In January–February 2018, a trial excavation was undertaken in the neighborhood of Qiryat Moriyya near Armon Ha-NaZiv Promenade in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-8192; map ref. 22183/62879; Fig. 1), prior to development. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Israel Government Tourist Corporation, was directed by A. Levy (photography), with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), O. Rose (surveying and drafting), O. Crouvi (geology) and A. Weigmann (photogrammetry), as well as Y. Zelinger, O. Barzilai and M. Shemer (consultation).
The excavation area lies on the slope of a spur (c. 780 m asl), along the watershed between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The bedrock belongs to the Mishash Formation, which consists of flint and limestone, and is covered with a layer of clay (Sneh and Avni 2011). Past excavations in nearby sites—at Ramat Rahel (Barzilai, Birkenfeld and Crouvi 2009), Meqor Hayyim (Barzilai 2011) and in the Baq‘a neighborhood (Barzilai, Aga and Crouvi 2010; Barzilai 2014)—yielded flint items from the Lower and Middle Paleolithic periods, apparently in secondary deposition.
The current excavation, comprising five squares, was conducted following the discovery of flint artifacts in trial trenches. Three sedimental strata (3–1) containing natural flint stones, flint artifacts and a few sherds were revealed.
Stratum 3 (Fig. 2), the bottom stratum, lay on the bedrock surface—a layer of flint in various stages of erosion. It comprised flint pebbles trapped in light-colored clay sediment, which sloped moderately downward to the east. Among the flint pebbles was a small number of knapped flint artifacts, mostly cores and a few very large falkes That seem to belong to the Mousterian culture of the Middle Paleolithic (250,000–50,000 BP), but may be earlier in date. The flint items were found scattered throughout the entire depth of the stratum, evidence of being swept into the site and in secondary deposition.
Stratum 2 (Fig. 3) comprised a deposit of dark brown, compact clay. The lower part of the deposit contains natural flint nodules and knapped flint artifacts, including cores, debitage and ad hoc tools (retouched flakes and blades). Several of these items were produced with the Levallois technique of the Mousterian culture. In the upper part of this deposit were a few worn sherds, natural flint stones and unindicative knapped flint items. As in Stratum 3, the flint artifacts were found through the entire depth of the stratum, evidence of secondary deposition after being swept into the site. However, some of the items are rather fresh and sharp, indicating that they were swept over a short distance and were produced nearby.
Stratum 1. A layer of dark brown topsoil contained modern debris, a few sherds and flint items as well as natural flint stones.
Flint artifacts (Fig. 4). The excavation yielded a small assemblage of flint artifacts. They were all made from brecciated flint of the Mishash Formation; most are covered with patina, and some—with encrustation. Only a few of the knapped artifacts could be ascribed to any culture, and these were all attributed to the Mousterian culture of the Middle Paleolithic. It seems that most of the items were found in secondary deposition, as were the flint items uncovered in nearby sites and dated to the Lower and Middle Paleolithic periods. Some of the items were fresh, an indication that they were knapped in close proximity to where they were deposited.
Barzilai O., Birkenfeld M, and Crouvi O. 2009. Jerusalem, Ramat Rahel. HA-ESI 121.
Barzilai O. 2014. Jerusalem, ‘Emeq Refa’im. HA-ESI 121.
Barzilai O., Aga A. and Crouvi O. 2010. Prehistoric Artifacts from Emeq Rephaim (Area C). In D. Amit, O. Peleg-Barkat and G.D. Stiebel eds. New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region 4. Jerusalem. Pp. 3–39 (Hebrew; English summary).
Sneh A. and Avni Y. 2011. Geological Map of Jerusalem, Israel (Geological Survey of Israel Report). Jerusalem.