مسح اثري لوادي الدرجة

23 06 2008

During February 2006 a survey was conducted in Nahal Darga, in southeast Jerusalem (Permit No. A-4731*; map ref. NIG 22220–320/62530–60; OIG 17220–320/12530–60), prior to the construction of the Har Homa (East) road. The survey, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and with the financial support of the Ministry of Housing, was performed by Z. ‘Adawi, A. Eirikh-Rose and B. Tori.
In the surveyed area (0.05–0.10 × 1 km) east of Kh. Umm Tuba, north of Kh. Luqa and on the slope of Kh. Mazmuriya (Fig. 1), 56 sites that most likely belonged to these three ruins were documented. Among the features surveyed were stone quarries, agricultural installations, hewn caves (Sites 1, 4, 5, 11, 14, 23, 24, 28, 29, 39), natural caves, some of which were probably used as dwellings (7, 9, 12, 20, 54) and some for burial (17, 21), and cupmarks (2, 6, 8, 16, 36, 38). Walls that were apparently used as animal pens were discovered in the courtyards of two caves. At the bottom of the Kh. Mazmuriya slope, agricultural terraces  whose fieldstone walls have survived to a height of 2–3 courses (3, 15, 18, 19, 26, 27, 35, 42–53, 55, 56) and in one instance, the terrace wall was constructed on top of building remains (3) were surveyed. A system of dams (22) and fieldstone walls that probably belonged to buildings or watchtowers (1a–4a, 25, 41) was surveyed in the wadi between Kh. Luqa and Kh. Mazmuriya. A cross was carved on one of the stones (26; Fig. 2). Six rock-hewn winepresses (10, 30–33, 40) were also surveyed.
 
A few of the potsherds that were gathered in the survey dated to Iron II and the Roman and Early Islamic periods, but the vast majority were from the Byzantine period. A rich concentration of sherds in one of the sites probably indicates the existence of a pottery kiln (1a).
The dense concentration of installations of this nature bears witness to the extensive agricultural use of the region, particularly in the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
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