During August 2008, the eighth season of community excavations at Rogem Ganim in the ‘Ir Ganim neighborhood of Jerusalem and the first season of excavations in nearby Nahal Ha-Yovel were conducted (License No. G-28/2008; map ref. 21579/62918). The excavation, on behalf of Tel Aviv University and in cooperation with the Ganim Community Center, was directed by R. Greenberg and Y. Mizrahi, with the participation of neighborhood residents of all ages. Everyday c. 40 individuals took part in the excavation, including a large group of participants; they were involved in identifying the finds, investigating the site and interpreting it. The excavation in Nahal Ha-Yovel was carried out in cooperation with M. Leiter and the Yuvalim Community center. ‘Kidum No‘ar’ youth participated in the project, with the aim of promoting the preservation of the valley as an open area and enhancing a sense of the past and of the physical environment of their neighborhood.
This season, the excavation in Rogem Ganim was focused in and around Cave 2 (HA-ESI 113:86*–88*). The cave is very large (in excess of 70 sq m); most of it is roofed and part of it has collapsed. The excavation of a probe down to the bedrock floor continued in the covered part of the cave. Most of the archaeological artifacts dated to the Early Islamic period and perhaps slightly earlier. The collapsed part of the cave was clearly identified for the first time this season and included a rectangular opening hewn in the eastern side of the cave (Figs. 1, 2). Many of the potsherds recovered from the collapsed portion of the cave dated to the end of the Iron Age and the Persian period and it is possible that it was originally carved out at that time. A cooking pot from the end of the Iron Age was found on the floor of the cave in a previous season (License No. G-39/2006). Since the excavation contexts were not sealed and included mixed ceramic material and a familiar range of types, all of the pottery was read in the field and buried on site.
Rock-hewn bedrock surfaces (Fig. 3) that apparently belonged to agricultural complexes, quarries (Fig. 4) and possibly even a road were exposed in the excavation in Nahal Ha-Yovel. Most interesting was an apparent staircase and a path that led to it (Fig. 5), which was delineated by a low retaining wall. Near the staircase were hewn cupmarks whose function is unclear. Agricultural installations, stone clearance heaps and cave openings could be discerned close by, on the eastern slope of the wadi. The date of all these is unclear and the gathered potsherds were meager and worn.