In August 2013, a trial excavation was conducted at Moshav Zippori (Permit No. A-6894; map ref. 226621–58/738872–908), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by A. Segal, was directed by Y. Gur (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Lavan and Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), W. Atrash (scientific guidance and pottery reading), R. Mishayev and M. Cohen (surveying and drafting) and H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing).
Two excavation areas (A, B; Fig. 2) were opened. In Area A, an ashlar quarry (3.5 × 4.5; Fig. 3) was exposed; three quarrying steps were identified. The severance channels (average width 0.1 m) allow reconstructing the average size of the stones quarried (0.3 × 0.4 × 0.7 m).
In Area B, a second part of the quarry, with evidence of two phase, was exposed. In the first phase, the quarry (5 × 8 m; Figs. 4, 5) was used to produce building stones. Three quarrying steps were discerned. According to the width of the severance channels (7–10 cm) the average size of the stones quarried could be estimated (0.4 × 0.6 × 0.8 m). In the second phase, the quarry was adapted for use as a cellar or an underground storeroom (2.5 × 5.0 m). The quarry’s northern side was smooth and used as a wall (length 5 m, height 1.2–1.5 m) that ran along an east–west direction. An open space (width 2.0–2.6 m) was hewn facing the wall, toward the slope in the south. It was bounded on the south by a wall (W2) built of a combination of medium-sized fieldstones, quarrying debris and soft calcareous mortar. Wall 2 was founded on a parallel southern quarrying line that was apparently connected to a pillar or wall in the southwestern corner of the quarry. The quarry floor served as the floor of the room; the southern part of the floor was c. 0.3 m lower than in the upper level; each level was c. 1 m wide. In the southeastern corner of the room was a rock-cut column (height 0.8 m) that served as a base for a pillar which probably supported the room’s ceiling. The column adjoined a wall (W1, not in the plan) to the southeast, which was built similar to W2 but of small fieldstones. The wall, which survived to a height of three courses, separated the room from a clay outcrop located south of the southern quarrying line. The column in the room’s southwestern corner indicates that when the stones were being removed from the quarry the space was already planned for use as a room. The entrance to the room was from the southeastern corner, opposite the slope. The rock-cutting in this section had penetrated a soft deposit of clay. In order to stabilize the transition, a layer of small and medium-sized fieldstones was placed on the clay. There seem to have been other openings to the room from the upper level, on the eastern and western sides.
The ceramic finds, which are meager and mainly abraded, date to the Early Roman and Byzantine periods. Two Early Roman cooking pot fragments (Fig. 6:2, 3) were found in the core of W2. A bowl base (Fig. 6:1) and jar rims (Fig. 6:4, 5) dating to the Early Roman period were also found. A fragment of a jar from the Byzantine period (Fig. 6:6) was discovered on the surface.
The quarry exposed in the excavation was planned to be use as a structure, probably a storeroom, when it was still in use for producing building stones. A similar conclusion was drawn from the excavation and an adjacent quarry (Porat 2010
). According to the ceramic finds from W2, the site can be dated to the Early Roman period.