The ‘Akko Valley
Five settlement sites (Figs. 1:1–5, 2: 9, 10) and three localized sites (Fig. 2:6–8) that are apparently related to Site 9, are located in this survey sector.
1. A scattering of potsherds and fragments of flint tools from the Early Bronze Age on cultivated farmland. The site was identified in a previous survey (Permit No. A-4925).
2, 3. The eastern and western boundaries of a site (c. 20 dunams); it is mostly covered with small and medium fieldstones, a concentration of basalt and raw flint fragments, and potsherds from the Persian (sixth–fifth centuries BCE) and the Roman and Byzantine (first–sixth centuries CE) periods. The site was identified in a previous survey (Permit No. A-4504: Site 1).
4, 5. The eastern and western boundaries of a site (c. 15 dunams); it is similar in shape and finds to Sites 2, 3 above. This site was identified in a previous survey (Permit No. A-4504: Site 2).
6, 7. Two rock-hewn caves, whose openings face south; these were identified in a previous survey (Permit No. A-4925: Sites 125, 126).
8. A retaining wall of a farming terrace built of different size fieldstones.
9. The Horbat ‘Uza antiquities site—an important and well-known tell that had been excavated and studied several times (IAA Report 41:5). The tell has a multi-period settlement that ranges in date from the Neolithic (eighth millennium BCE) to the Ottoman (sixteenth–seventeenth centuries CE) periods.
A prehistoric site (c. 80 dunams), characterized by an extensive scattering of flint artifacts. The flint assemblage includes Levallois cores, Levallois points and several other tools indicative of cultural standardization, probably from the Middle Paleolithic period (HA-ESI 121
: Site 629).
A Chalk Hill North of the ‘Akko Valley
On a low chalk hill north of the ‘Akko Valley were several localized sites (Fig. 2:11–17), including burial caves (11, 12, 16), quarries (14, 15), a winepress (13) and a surveyor’s mark that is dated to the Roman period. The sites were identified in a previous survey (HA-ESI 121
: Site 630: Sites 36–40).
The Qirton Hills North of Ahihud
Two settlement sites on two small adjacent qirton
hills (Fig. 3:18, 26) are located North of Moshav Ah
ihud; the sites were partially documented in previous surveys and excavated (HA-ESI 123
Within the sites and next to them (Fig. 3:19–25) are numerous localized sites, mostly caves, winepresses, quarries, limekilns and rock-hewn installations, as well as walls, building stones and numerous potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Some of the localized sites were examined in a previous survey (HA-ESI 123
: Sites 1–6) and can be ascribed to one of the settlement sites, 18 or 26.
The site, located south of Highway 85, is characterized by a dense distribution of finds indicative of a settlement. These include architectural remains, tombs, quarries, limekilns, agricultural and industrial installations, including many winepresses and pressing installations. Some of the remains were documented in a previous survey (Permit No. A-4504: Sites 4–16) and some were excavated (HA-ESI 123
; Permit No. A-5991).
19. A scattering of raw flint in a small area (c. 0.5 dunam).
20. A rectangular extracting installation (c. 0.5×1.5 m), oriented north–south and covered with soil fill.
21. A winepress that utilized a natural bedrock surface. The winepress has a square treading floor (c. 3×3 m) in its western side and a collecting vat to its east, which was enlarged and converted into a hewn cistern (min. depth 2.5 m) after the winepress was no longer in use. The cistern’s opening is circular (diam. 1.4 m) and has alluvium accumulated on its bottom.
22. Winepress. An enormous collecting vat (c. 2×2×2 m), which has a visible staircase hewn in its western side.
23. A cross-section of a cave whose northern part is destroyed.
24. A pit or cave (diam. of opening c. 1.2 m) whose northern side is destroyed.
25. A cave whose opening faces north and most of it is buried in the ground.
A settlement site on a small hill north of Highway 85. Numerous potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods are scattered on the surface. Winepresses, agricultural installations, quarries and caves were recorded. The site was documented in previous surveys (Permit No. A-4504: Sites 17–21; HA-ESI 123
: Sites 8–21) and a small excavation was conducted (HA-ESI 122
The Qirton Hills East of Ahihud
Two other settlement sites (Fig. 6: 32, 35) are located between Ahihud and the Bet Ha-Kerem Valley, as well as a hill with a concentration of localized sites (Fig. 4: 28) and six other localized sites (Figs. 3: 27, 4: 29, 30, 5: 31, 6: 33, 34).
27. Winepress with a rectangular treading floor (0.6×1.6 m, min. depth 0.3 m; Fig. 7), filled with alluvium, and a circular collecting vat (diam. 0.6 m, depth 0.55 m) to its west. The bedrock surfaces around the winepress have rock-cuttings and a large scattering of potsherds from the Late Roman period. The winepress was documented in a previous survey (Permit No. A-4504: Site 22).
A flat rocky hill, upon which a crushing basin of an olive press (Fig. 8), rock-cuttings (Permit No. A-4504: Site 23) and a winepress (HA-ESI 123
: Site 22) were discerned in previous surveys. Two winepresses and an installation, previously unknown, were discovered on the eastern part of the hill (Fig. 9).
29. A small tumulus built of different size fieldstones, most of which are small. Potsherds from the Late Roman period were found on top of the stones (Permit No. A-4504: Site 24).
30. A small rock-cutting and a nearby retaining wall of farming terrace (length 8 m, width 0.5 m), oriented east–west and built of two courses of small and medium fieldstones (Permit No. A-4504: Site 25).
31. The tomb of Sheikh Saris, also known as ‘the Bedouin tomb’—a stone heap at the foot of a slope, beneath a sacred terebinth tree that is adorned with green cloth (Fig. 10).
32. Numerous fragments of pottery vessels, mostly jars characteristic of Middle Bronze Age II, inside an ancient olive grove.
33. A straight rock-cut line, probably delimiting a treading floor of a winepress that is covered with soil and vegetation.
34. A large winepress on a bedrock outcrop consisting of a rectangular treading floor (c. 3.0×3.5 m) and a collecting vat to its south, covered with soil fill and vegetation.
35. Horbat Gilon—a site on a hill; the tomb of Sheikh Jallun is built on its top. The site (c. 30 dunams) has remains of a church, massive architectural remains from the Byzantine period and potsherds from the Roman to the Ottoman periods—evidence of prolonged habitation.
The importance of the survey lies in it providing a cross-section of the antiquities through the center of the Western Galilee. The survey finds join those of earlier surveys and excavations indicating that the ‘Akko Valley was settled continuously from prehistoric times until the present.
In the calcareous hills between the ‘Akko and Bet Ha-Kerem Valleys, rock-hewn installations were found, including cisterns, burial caves, quarries and winepresses, as well as potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods, indicating agricultural and industrial activity that was mostly connected to two known sites: Horbat Ahihud North (Site 18), whose northern part is located in this survey area, and Tel Barwa, next to Horbat Ahihud North and bordering on the surveyed area to the southeast. Another important site is Horbat Gilon, to whose west two winepresses and a small site from Middle Bronze Age II were found. With the exception of several dozen ancient olive trees that were not marked on the survey map, no sites were found in the Bet Ha-Kerem Valley.