In April 2013 a salvage excavation was conducted on ‘Ala‘a a-Din street in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem (Permit No. A-6782; map ref. 222210–22/631810–25), prior to the renovation of a residential building. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Mr. ‘Abd es-Sharif, was directed by Z. ‘Adawi, with the assistance of N. Sapir and Y. Kagen (antiquities inspection), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), D. Levy (GPS), A. Peretz (photography and identification of rifle cartridge), S. el-‘Amlah (metal detection), B. Dolinka (pottery), H. Rosenstein (metallurgical laboratory) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).
(c. 2.0 × 2.5 m; Fig. 4). Beneath a stone pavement was a soil fill (L100; thickness c. 0.4 m) that had been disturbed by the laying of a modern sewer pipe. Below it was an undisturbed dark gray soil fill (L101; thickness 5 cm). An illegible coin was discovered in Fill 101; on the basis of its shape it was presumably minted during the Mamluk period (thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE). Fill 101 sealed a drainage channel that led from the northeast to the southwest (L102; exposed length c. 3 m, inner width 0.4 m, outer width 0.6 m, height 0.7 m). The U-shaped channel was lined with three courses of fieldstones (width 0.1 m), without mortar or plaster; it was capped with large stone slabs (0.15 × 0.40–0.50 × 0.65–0.80 m). The channel was filled with dark gray silt and modern items that were swept into the channel after it was no longer in use. These items, which include a rifle cartridge, metallic items and two fragments of a Gaza-ware Zabdiyah-type bowl dating to 1700–1950 CE (Israel 2006
:209, Sub-type 7), seem to indicate that the channel went out of use in the 1980’s. These items. The cartridge (Fig. 5; 0.303 caliber) was manufactured in 1942 in Canada by the Defense Industries Ltd. (Edwards 2011
:123). This is as a Mark VII cartridge for small arms, and its propellant, designated by the letter “Z”, was nitrocellulose (Edwards 2011
Area B (c. 0.5 × 2.5 m; Fig. 6). The excavation was conducted beneath the stone pavers in the courtyard (L200). No finds were recovered. Some of the courtyard pavers were especially large (0.35 × 0.40–0.55 × 0.50–1.20 m; Fig. 7) and abutted the walls of the original building; thus they are apparently part of the structure’s original pavement.
The section of a channel exposed in the excavation apparently drained water from the street or the building’s roof to two cisterns located beneath the courtyard pavement (Burgoyne 1987
:136). On the basis of the coin discovered in the soil fill that sealed the channel, it seems that this channel was built together with the entire building in the Mamluk period (thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE). The drainage channel apparently went out of use during the twentieth century.
el-Aref, A. 2007. Al-Mafasal ve Tarekh el-Quds. Beirut (7th ed.; Arabic).
Israel Y. 2006. Black Gaza Ware from the Ottoman Period. Ph.D. diss. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Be‘er Sheva’ (Hebrew).
Burgoyne M.H. 1987. Mamluk Jerusalem: An Architectural Study. London.
Edwards A.O. 2011. Headstamp Guide: 303 Inch British Service Ammunition. Canterbury.