Area A (Fig. 2). The surface of the rock is protuberant in the southern part of the area there are many karstic depressions. A bell-shaped cistern (L102; diam. c. 3.5 m, depth c. 3.5 m; Fig. 3) whose ceiling collapsed was excavated. The northeastern half of the cistern was excavated and its bottom was partially revealed. The sides of the cistern were coated with several layers of white and light gray plaster, indicating its prolonged use. A rectangular settling pit (L103; 0.8×1.4 m, depth 1.5 m) was discovered on the eastern side of the cistern. A short passage (L104; length c. 1.5 m, width c. 1 m, depth 0.6 m) was hewn between the cistern and the settling pit. The eastern side of the settling pit was raised by the construction of a small wall (W11; length c. 1 m, width c. 0.9 m, height c. 0.5 m). East of the wall was a rock-hewn channel (L100; length c. 1.5 m, width 0.85 m) that drained water into the settling pit. A small depression (L109; 0.05×0.20×0.40 m) was hewn next to the northern side of the channel. In the north of the area, a rock-hewn sump (L105; 0.8×1.1 m, depth c. 0.2 m; Fig. 4), connected by a narrow pipe in the eastern side to a water channel (L107; length c. 3 m, width 0.15–0.20 m, depth c. 0.15 m), was exposed; this installation drained water from the surrounding area into the nearby cistern.
Area B. A scattering of potsherds from the Hellenistic period was discovered c. 20 m south of the cistern.
Area C (Figs. 5–9). Remains of a building, which incorporated a natural karstic cave (length c. 9 m, width 5–6 m) in its western part, were exposed c. 10 m from the cistern. The center and eastern part of the cave’s ceiling had collapsed (L305) and its western (L302) and northern (L306) parts were preserved 3 m high. Two pits (L307—depth c. 1.8 m; L318—depth c. 2 m) were exposed on the bottom of the cave. The western wall of the building was founded on a hewn bedrock surface in the entrance to the cave. The building was delimited on its northern side by a high bedrock terrace. Recesses were hewn at the base of the building’s walls, into which the wall foundations were built of small and medium stones (L322). The walls, built as headers on the foundations, were preserved 3–4 course high (c. 1 m). Four rooms (1–4) and two passages were exposed in the building. Room 1 (2.0×2.5 m) was almost completely exposed and three of its walls were preserved (W31—length 2.5 m, width c. 0.8 m; W30—length 3 m, width c. 0.75 m; W37—length 4 m, width c. 0.76 m). A floor of chalk and soil (L308) was exposed in the room. Only Wall 37 was preserved in Room 2, separating it from Room 1. Remains of a stone floor (L319) and a tamped chalked floor (L304) were exposed in Room 2. Two walls (W33—length c. 3 m, width 0.6 m; W34—length 2.5 m, width 0.6 m) were preserved in Room 3 (2.5×2.5 m). A stone threshold (L326; 0.4×0.9 m) was exposed in its northeastern corner and a flagstone floor (L309; 1.5×2.0 m) was uncovered in its southern part. Two walls (W32—length c. 5 m, width 0.6 m; W35—length c. 1.5 m, width c. 1 m) were preserved in Room 4 (1.5×2.5 m). A rock-hewn threshold (L316; 0.4×0.9 m) was exposed on the western side of the room. A level of soil and small stones (L314) was exposed on the bedrock in this room. Two passages L310/312—length 3.0–3.5 m, width c. 1 m; L327—length c. 3 m, with 0.9 m) were built between the rooms. A stone threshold was set in an opening in the middle of Passage 310/312.
Area D (Fig. 10). A section of a wall (W40; length 1.8 m, width c. 1 m, height c. 0.25 m) was exposed c. 10 m down the slope from Area C. The wall was built of two rows of medium-sized fieldstones (0.30×0.35×0.40 m) within a rock-hewn depression and was preserved a single course high. It seems that the wall was built on an ancient quarry, of which only a small portion was exposed, where a bedrock surface (L408) and a separating channel (L404; length c. 1 m, width 0.1 m, depth 0.15 m) were hewn. Signs of rock-cuttings and separating stones from the bedrock (L405; 0.5×0.9 m, depth 0.3 m) were discovered next to the wall. A round hewn depression (L406; diam. 0.25 m, depth 0.2 m) was exposed c. 0.5 m north of the wall.
Fragments of kraters (Fig. 12:1, 2), jars (Fig. 12:3, 4) and lamps (Fig. 12:5, 6) from Iron Age II were discovered in the layer of soil above the quarry and above the bedrock. Most of the ceramic finds in the excavation were discovered around the cistern in Area A, inside the building, in the cave in Area C and next to W40 in Area D. These finds date to the Hellenistic period and include bowls (Fig. 13:1–5), a lid (Fig. 13:6), cooking pots (Fig. 13:7–13), jars (Fig. 14:1–15), jugs (Fig. 14:16, 17) and juglets (Fig. 14:19, 20). A flask (Fig. 14:18) and a lamp (Fig. 14:21) dating to the time of the Hasmoneans were discovered beneath Stone Pavement 309. Mostly fragments of store jars from the Hellenistic period were found on the bottom of Pits 311 and 320; hence the pits were probably used for storage. Three jar handles bearing stamped impressions were discovered. Two handles were found above Floor 304 in the building in Area C. One is stamped with a round impression bearing the letters “י ה ד ט" (Figs. 15:1) and the other bears a round stamped impression, whose contents are illegible. The third handle was discovered in the northern corner of the cave (L302) and is stamped with a round impression that bears a rare decoration of crisscrossing lines (Figs. 15:2).
Six coins were discovered in the excavation; five were found in the building remains in Area C and one in Area D. Two coins were discovered in Passage 310, one was struck in the mint of Antioch and dates to the time Antiochus III (222–187 BCE; IAA 115172) and the other to the time of Alexander Jannaeus (104–76 BCE; IAA 115173). A third coin was exposed above Floor 308 in Room 1; it was struck in the mint ‘Akko during the reign of Antiochus IV (173/2–168 BCE; IAA 115170). A fourth coin was found in Room 3 above Stone Pavement 309; it was minted in ‘Akko during the reign of Antiochus III (197–187 BCE; IAA 115171). Another coin discovered in the southern part of the cave was identified as an undefined Roman provincial coin, bearing two countermarks of a head facing right and the letter X (second century CE [?]; IAA 115174). A coin was recovered from a soil level above a bedrock surface (L401), c. 2 m northwest of W40 in Area D. It was minted in Jerusalem during the reign of Antiochus VII (132/1–131/0 BCE; IAA 115175).
In addition, basalt (Figs. 16:1, 2) and limestone (Fig. 16:3, 4) grinding and pounding tools were discovered. A bronze Scythian arrowhead (Fig. 17:1) was discovered beneath Floor 319 in the building remains in Area C and a bronze kohl stick (Fig. 17:2) was exposed in the passage between the northern and southern wings. Pieces of lead (Fig. 26) and nails (Fig. 27) were uncovered in the cave in Area C.
The building, cave dwelling and cistern are part of an ancient complex, dating to the Hellenistic period, based on the pottery and numismatic finds. It seems that a farmhouse stood at the site, which was part of the agricultural hinterland of Jerusalem. The local residents presumably worked the land along the slope at the foot of the farm.