In October 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at Horbat Dardar, east of Zur Natan (Permit No. A-6924; map ref. 201736–67/682882–906; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a water tank. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Arim Company, was directed by A.S. Tendler (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), Y. Elisha (preliminary inspections), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), H. Torgë and E. Yannai (ceramics), L. Rauchberger (clay tobacco pipe) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
Two pressing installations (bodedot; L103; Figs. 2, 3), hewn in the high bedrock, and remains of a collapsed building were exposed. The southern installation had an elliptical treading floor which drained into a circular basin (depth 0.3 m). The northern installation consisted of a round crushing surface with a drainage vat (depth 0.5 m) in its center. A channel, which drained the liquid into the vat, was identified along the circumference of the surface. Another round drainage basin (depth 0.3 m) was located to the south of the crushing surface. The southern installation might have been used for crushing olives, and the northern one for extracting oil. After the drainage vat in the center of the northern installation filled up with watery lees and sediment, the refined oil flowed to the drainage basin located to the south.
A wall (W1; length c. 3.5 m, width c. 0.75 m) was exposed to the north of these installations. The wall, which was mostly collapsed, was built of medium- and large-sized fieldstones and aligned in a north–south direction. Two wall sections were bonded with the eastern side of W1. These were the remains of an agricultural structure, possibly a field tower. A rock-hewn cupmark was exposed near the northwestern corner of W1. Numerous potsherds were found throughout the area. Most of the sherds date to the different phases of the Iron Age and to the Ottoman period. The other sherds date to the Middle Bronze, Persian and Hellenistic periods. The pottery presented in Fig. 4 consists of an MB red-slipped krater (Fig. 4:1), Iron II cooking pots (Fig. 4:2, 3), an Iron I collared-rim pithos (Fig. 4:4) and a jar (Fig. 4:5) from Late Persian–Early Hellenistic period. The Ottoman period is represented by a jug (Fig. 4:6) and a fragment of a red slipped and burnished bowl belonging to a tobacco pipe (Fig. 4:7). The pipe's bowl is decorated with deep vertical ribbing. Little bumps above the ribbing are separated by stamped triangles containing thin vertical lines. Above this decoration there is a serrated and rouletted horizontal strip. The pipe dates to the second half of the eighteenth century CE.
Despite the difficulty in dating rock-hewn installations, similar pressing installations have been attributed to the Iron Age (Eitam 1979:153; Haddad 2001:60). It seems that the installations at Horbat Dardar should also be dated to this period. Although the scope of the excavation was limited, the identification of the stratum ascribed to the Iron Age is important because it was previously unknown at this site.
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Haddad E. 2001. Rosh Ha-‘Ayin, Mizpe Afeq: Remains of an Agricultural Settlement from the Iron Age to the Hellenistic Period. ‘Atiqot 65:53–63 (Hebrew; English summary, p. 67*).
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