During May 2005, a trial excavation was conducted in a private lot in the City of David in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-4453; map ref. NIG 22228/63084; OIG 17228/13084), after ancient remains were detected during an antiquities inspection, performed by A. Nagar, prior to development work. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the El‘ad Association, was directed by Z. Greenhut, with the assistance of T. De‘adle (assistance in field; administration), R. Abu Khalaf (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), the Mabat Company (three-dimensional imaging), S. Al-‘Amla (metal detection), Y. Baruch (coordination of field work), N. Zak (drafting), C. Amit (studio photography) and R. Vinitsky and L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory).
The lot is located at the bottom of the western slope of the Tyropoeon valley, opposite Birkat al-H
amra to the west and c. 650 m above sea level. An escarpment in its western part rises to a height of 13 m above the lot. The lot is located about half way between Kenyon’s excavations in Area O, near the Shiloah
Pool, and Area F, where Nah
al Qidron meets the Tyropoeon valley higher up the slope (K.M. Kenyon 1974, Digging Up Jerusalem
, London and Cambridge, p. 90, Fig. 18).
Three soundings, from west to east, were opened in the area at the foot of the escarpment, which in itself was documented.
A series of rooms that belonged to one building was arranged in stories on the escarpment and its foot. The rooms descended from north to south in accordance with the natural topography of the hill. The upper story was survived by the hewn bedrock terraces, which were apparently the floors of the upper story’s rooms.
The middle story had at least three rooms that were built on the slope from north to south. Their western part was hewn bedrock and the western side was arched, indicating their original shape was probably vaulted.
The bottom story included another complex of rooms, built on the slope from north to south, of which two rooms were partly excavated. A raised niche that served as a closet or pantry was in the southern room, as well as remains of molded plaster.
A staircase led from the floor of the building to the basement of the house, which was vaulted and coated with gray plaster, characteristic of the Second Temple period.
The finds recovered from the excavation seem to indicate that the architectural complex dated to the time of the Second Temple period (first century BCE–first century CE).