The Quarries (Areas A–C)
The three quarries were medium size courtyard quarries situated on the southern slope of a hill; they extended south and north, beyond the excavation limits. Building stones were produced in all of the quarries: Area A (L100, L101; 10 × 20 m, depth 1.2 m; Figs. 2, 3; average stone dimensions 0.30 × 0.35 × 0.66 m); Area B (L200, L201; 13.5 × 17.5 m, depth 2.8 m; Figs. 4, 5; average stone dimensions 0.3 × 0.6 × 0.7 m, 0.3 × 0.6 × 0.9 m); Area C (L300; 6 × 13 m, depth 2.2 m; Figs. 6, 7; average stone dimensions 0.3 × 0.4 × 1.2 m, 0.26 × 0.30 × 0.60 m). Several quarrying steps with straight, upright walls were discovered in each of the areas. The method of cutting out the stones was similar in all three quarries: first, vertical severance channels were hewn on three sides of the stone, followed by a slightly inclined severance channel that was cut beneath the stone. The cross-section of these channels was trapezoidal: wide on top (10–13 cm) and narrower on the bottom (3–4 cm). Diagonal chisel marks (depth 0.5–1.0 cm) hewn beside each other were also discovered in the quarries.
All of the quarries contained an upper layer of accumulated dark brown alluvium (thickness 0.5–1.0 m) and a lower layer of quarrying debris (thickness 0.3–0.5 m). The latter included small–medium stone chips (6–10 cm) mixed with light brown soil; the chips became smaller (2–5 cm) the deeper the excavation progressed in the lower layer, and were mixed with fine-grained white chalk as far down as the quarry floor.
The Road (Area D)
Two excavation squares were opened. Remains of an ancient road were exposed, and six construction phases were discerned (1–6; Figs. 8–10). The road surface in each phase served as the roadbed for the subsequent surface.
Phase 1. The road surface in the earliest phase was built of crushed chalk and small river pebbles (L421; thickness c. 0.1 m) and was founded on a bedding of tamped, light brown, levigated soil (L426). The road was bounded on the west by a row of medium-sized fieldstones. Two sections of this phase were discovered c. 4 m apart; hence, the overall width of the road was greater than 4 m. This phase is dated to Herod’s reign (first century BCE).
Phase 2. In this phase, the road was widened on both its sides. The road surface was constructed of large, roughly hewn stone slabs (L419; average dimensions 0.15 × 0.35 × 0.40 m), some of which were deliberately left coarse so as to prevent slipping. It was delimited by two walls (W40, W44) built of large roughly hewn stones (average dimensions 0.25 × 0.43 × 0.65 m). The foundation trench of W40 (L425) identified to its east. The overall width of the road was 7 m. A layer of small, densely packed fieldstones (L411; width 2 m) abutted the western side of W40. Layer 411 was bounded on the west by a wall (W43) built of a single row of small–medium stones. This phase is also dated to the time of Herod (first century BCE).
Phase 3. The road surface of this phase was composed of large stone slabs and densely arranged small–medium river pebbles. The surface was extremely worn, suggesting that it was used for a very long time. Walls 40 and 44 and the layer of stones (L411) were also used in this phase. The phase dates to the Roman period (second century CE).
Phase 4. The road surface in this phase was built of small stone slabs (L415; width c. 5 m), of which only two small sections were preserved. The surface was flanked by two walls (W42, W45) constructed atop W40 and W44 of the previous phases. Walls 42 and 45 were built of two rows of medium-sized fieldstones (Fig. 11). The former was set on brown soil mixed with small stones, while the latter was founded on top of a layer of chalk (L402; width 0.5 m, thickness 0.1 m). The area west of W45 was filled up to the top of the wall with levigated, brown agricultural soil (L403). The phase dates to the Roman period.
Phase 5. The southern part of W45 was probably damaged, and a new wall was built in its place (W41; width 1.5 m; Fig. 12). Wall 41 was constructed of two rows of large stones (0.4 × 0.7 × 0.8 m) and a core of brown earth mixed with small and medium-sized fieldstones (L412). The eastern side of the wall was founded on a chalk layer that covered the road surface of Phase 4 (L415) and on the remains of W45; its western side was set on brown agricultural soil (thickness 0.2–0.3 m) that was deposited there in the previous phase. Phase 5 dates to the Byzantine period.
Phase 6. Collapsed stones (L413) extended east from W41 for a distance of c. 2 m. They lay directly on top of sections of the road from Phases 3 and 4; thus, it seems that the road sections were exposed in the past, and that some of their stone slabs were robbed. These sections remained uncovered and were used as part of the road up to the accumulation of the collapsed stones. A meager amount of modern finds, including nails (Fig. 13), were discovered in the rubble. A bedding of chalk gravel was spread in the modern era over the road remains, and above it a modern road surface was paved.
Several fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Herodian period (first century BCE) and first–second centuries CE (the time of the Roman legion) were discovered in the excavation. The finds from the Herodian period include a cooking pot that has a ridged triangular rim (Fig. 14:1) and jars with a plain, slightly flat and everted rim (Fig. 14:2–4). The finds from the first–second centuries CE include a large bowl with a ridged-ledge rim (Fig. 14:5), a cooking pot without a neck, which has a globular body and a rim with an inner groove (Fig. 14:6) and a juglet with a thickened rim bearing a ridge on the outside (Fig. 14:7).
The location and characteristics of the quarries discovered in the excavation are similar to quarries previously revealed in the area, and dated to the Roman and Byzantine period. These quarries supplied building stones for Jerusalem and its surroundings. The quarries were located close to the main roads of the Roman period, thus allowing the efficient transport of the stones. The methodical manner in which the quarries were run is indicative of pre-planning and organization that allowed several groups of laborers to work simultaneously. The road section that was discovered was part of the main road from Yafo to Jerusalem, which passed by Bet Horon (Roll 1987:126). The road was constructed during Herod’s reign, at which time it was also expanded (Phase 2), when it became an imperial road. During the Second Temple period the road was called “the road that bears the people” and was maintained by the Jewish authorities (Avi-Yonah 1962:73). In the second century CE, the road was renovated twice (Phases 3 and 4) and remained an important and wide imperial route. In the Byzantine period (Phase 5), the road continued to serve the public and was maintained, as evidenced by the repairs that were made to the wall demarcating it on the west. The absence of intentional soil fill or an accumulation of natural soil on the road indicates that it was used continuously until the twentieth century, as indicated by the modern objects discovered among the collapsed stones (Phase 6). A modern road was paved on the unearthed section of the ancient road.