In February–March 2016, an excavation was conducted on Henrietta Szold Street in the Qiryat Menahem neighborhood of Jerusalem (Permit No. A-7618; map ref. 215727–74/629800–16; Fig. 1), after damage to ancient remains was discovered while supervising construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Moriah–Jerusalem Development Company, Ltd., was directed by Y. Billig, with the assistance of L. Oz and N. Rom (supervision), N. Nehama (administration), A. Hajian and M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), D. Tanami (metal detection), A. Peretz (field photography), S. Granot (Elements Company; aerial photography), N. Zak (plans), I. Lidsky-Reznikov (finds drawing) and J. Bukengolts (pottery restoration).
Limekiln (L3, L9; max. diam. 4.8 m, depth 4 m; Figs. 3, 4). The west part of the kiln was severely damaged by mechanical equipment prior to the excavation. Typical quarrying marks found in the vicinity of the kiln suggest that it was hewn into the lower part of an ancient quarry. The kiln was cut into a cave; its walls turned friable as a result of the extreme heat generated by the kiln. A hewn, winding staircase (Fig. 5) led from the north down into the cave and joined a short, vaulted passage (L4; width 1.25 m, max. height 1.25 m; Fig. 6). Judging by the remains of several niches (dimensions of the largest: 0.16 × 0.23 × 0.35 m) in the cave wall, it served originally as a columbarium. The bedrock wall on the northwest side of the kiln was lower, probably because it was hewn into the quarry, and the remainder of the wall was therefore built (W2). A sloping ventilation channel (L16; Fig. 7), hewn mostly in the bedrock, led to the kiln’s firebox; only its lower part, linking it to the firebox, had stone-lined walls. A large chunk of stones fused into a single block was unearthed in the kiln. No diagnostic finds were recovered. The kiln probably dates from the Ottoman period, as the vast majority of limekilns in the country belong to this period and since the kiln cuts into the earlier cave and quarry.
Rock-Hewn Winepress (Figs. 3, 8–10). The winepress contained a large treading floor (L12), two circular pits (L7, L8) and a square pit (L11). The east part of the treading floor (6.2 m long) was not preserved. A short wall (W3; see Fig. 9) constructed of medium-sized fieldstones was built at the northeast end of the treading floor. Part of it was built on top of a soil fill that accumulated in the square pit after it became obsolete. This wall may have been built to enclose the treading floor where there was no rock-hewn wall and in order to divert the flow of the must to Pit 7.
Pit 7 was a bell-shaped pit (upper diam. 1.15 m, lower diam. 1.9 m, depth 1.5–1.7 m) with an uneven floor. The walls of the pit retained meager traces of plaster. When Pit 7 was hewn, the walls of Pits 8 and 11 nearby were apparently breached and the gaps were filled in with stones. The pit may have served as a collecting vat for the winepress. It is also possible that Pit 7 was shallower at first and served as a settling pit—the must ran into it from the treading floor and then flowed on to Pit 8, which served as a collecting vat—and only later was widened and converted into a collecting vat. The soil deposit in Pit 7 yielded potsherds dating mainly from the late Iron Age, including two types of jars (Fig. 11:1, 2), as well as some pottery from the late Second Temple period. A cylindrical stone was also recovered from this accumulation (see Fig. 10; the stone was placed between Pit 7 and Pit 8).
Pit 8 was a cylindrical pit (diam. 1.7 m, depth 1.6 m; Fig. 12) with a stone pillar (height 0.5 m) erected on its floor. A niche (diam. 0.33 m, depth 0.14 m) was hewn in its floor, beside the pillar. A layer of plaster preserved in the lower part of the pit coated the niche and the pillar as well. The pit’s wall had been breached on the southwest, probably when Pit 7 was quarried; the gap was blocked with small stones. Pit 8 may have been the collecting vat for Treading Floor 12, but it may equally have been a collecting vat for a treading floor, which could have extended to its northeast. Pit 8 yielded late Second Temple period pottery, including a cooking pot (Fig. 11:4), a jar (Fig. 11:5) and a jug (Fig. 11:6). The function of the stone pillar in the pit is unclear, but similar pillars were discovered in other collecting vats belonging to winepresses, such as at H
a (Billig 1996
) and Gillo (Weksler-Bdolah 1998
:180–181, 190). A stone pillar was also found nearby, standing on the floor of a rock-hewn installation identified by the excavator as a collecting vat for one of the phases of a winepress, whose treading floor was not preserved (Storchan 2015
; the installation was located in Area B, but is not discussed in the publication [B. Storchan, pers. comm.]).
Pit 11, which was square (1.45 × 1.55 m, 1.3–1.5 m deep), bore no traces of plaster. Its wall was breached on the northwest, probably when Pit 7 was quarried; the gap was blocked with small stones. It is not clear what the pit was used for. After the pit fell into disuse, it was filled with soil, and W3 was built over it (see above). It is probably the earliest of the three winepress pits. Several late Iron Age potsherds were retrieved from this pit, including a jar sherd (Fig. 11:3).
Rock-Hewn Installation (L6; Fig. 3). A rectangular rock-hewn installation (0.6–0.8 × 1.2 m, 1.2 m deep) was damaged by mechanical equipment. Numerous late Iron Age potsherds were found in the installation, almost all of them fragments of holemouth jars, typical of the period.
Quarries (L5, L13, L14). Three stepped quarries were hewn in the chalk bedrock. They bear quarrying remains of large stones (average dimensions 0.35 × 0.40 × 0.70 m). The steps in Quarry 14 were hewn from four directions down into a square central courtyard with a rectangular rock-cut pit (0.80–0.85 × 1.60 m, 0.45 m deep).
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