During December 2007, a salvage excavation was conducted on Ha-Satat Street in the Bet Ha-Kerem neighborhood of Jerusalem (Permit No. A-5309; map ref. 21824/63137), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Billig, with the assistance of R. Bar-Natan (acting excavation director), M. Kunin and V. Essman (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), Y. Shmidov and E. Belashov (drafting), Y. Bukengolts (pottery restoration), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).
A rock-hewn cave, a quarry for building stones and building remains were exposed in the excavation area (c. 8 × 10 m; Fig. 1). Most of the finds in the excavation dated to the end of the Iron Age and the Persian period. This excavation area is the continuation of the area excavated east of here in 2006 (Permit No. A-4941).
A rock-hewn cave (L72; Fig. 2) filled with modern debris was exposed in the northwestern corner of the excavation area. Only its southeastern part was excavated to the bottom (depth 3.9 m). An opening (depth 1.3 m) in the cave’s ceiling may have been breached in the modern era, through which the modern debris penetrated. The cave was hewn in hard, but extremely cracked limestone and its bell-shaped interior tapered toward the top (bottom diam. 2.2 m). A corridor (length c. 3 m, width c. 1.3 m, min. height 1.5 m) was hewn in the cave’s southern part, apparently from its original opening, which was not exposed in the excavation. The period and use of the cave were not determined.
A quarry in qirton bedrock (L70) was exposed in the area above and east of the cave. The large stones (c. 0.35 × 0.50 × 0.80 m) hewn in the quarry may have been used to build the structure exposed nearby. Potsherds, mostly dating to the end of the Iron Age, were discovered in the soil layer that covered the quarry.
Remains of a building that was severely damaged by various development works in the modern era were discovered east of the quarry. The southern part of a room with a plaster floor (L58) were exposed. The walls (W50–52) were built of large pale yellow qirton ashlars and medium-sized fieldstones of hard limestone; they were preserved one or two courses high. It seems that W51 was extended southward in a later phase; the continuation of the wall was built only of flat hard limestone fieldstones (max. height 1.3 m). The outer western face of W51 was well-built and it therefore seems that this was the exposed side, while the inner face was crude. Small fieldstone fill (L69) was discovered on the inner side of W51, indicating that the wall retained fill that constituted a raised surface. This fill contained potsherds from the end of the Iron Age, which probably date the construction of the raised surface—a later addition to the building—to a later phase of the structure.
A layer of brown soil (thickness 0.3 m) that contained finds from the end of the Iron Age was discovered on the bedrock west of W51. This was overlain with a layer of light gray soil with small stones (L66; thickness 0.9 m) that contained a multitude of potsherds from the end of the Iron Age and the Persian period, including several jar and jug handles stamped with different impressions, as well as 10 loom weights, animal bones, charred olive pits and the handle of an iron instrument. Layer 66 also contained several potsherds from the Byzantine period, which may point to its being brought there from the surrounding area in the Byzantine period.
Two coins were discovered in the excavation. One coin of Alexander Jannaeus (104–80/79 BCE; IAA 135278) was found on the surface. Its exact date is probably sometime in the ninth decade of the first century BCE. Finds from the first century BCE were discovered in the previous season nearby (Permit No. A-4941). The second coin was discovered in the soil fill above the quarry (L70) and it dates to the fifth century CE (IAA 135279).
Finds dating to the end of the Iron Age and the Persian period were discovered in the excavation. These join the finds from the excavation in 2006 that date to the time of the Second Temple and the Byzantine, Early Islamic and Mamluk periods. These finds are indicative of a multi-strata site in the Bet Ha-Kerem neighborhood, which has not been known to date.