Limekiln (Figs. 3, 4). The kiln was elliptical and consisted of a firing chamber, ventilation channels and outer support walls. The firing chamber and ventilation channels were hewn inside a cavity that had been previously used as a ritual bath (miqveh). A staircase (L114; length of each step c. 0.8 m, width of each step c. 0.4 m; Fig. 5) that led to the miqveh was exposed. Jars (Fig. 2: 6, 3) dating to the Second Temple period were discovered on the steps and on a shelf that was revealed in the miqveh. While quarrying the kiln the cavity constituting the miqwe was made deeper, and the staircase was cut. The quality of the quarrying of the kiln was cruder than that of the miqveh.
The kiln’s firing chamber was round (diam. c. 4.5 m, depth c. 3 m) and rock-cut. Its northern half was excavated, yielding collapsed stones, and beneath them—a homogeneous layer of white lime that covered the bedrock. An elongated opening was hewn in the northern side of the firing chamber. In it, a rectangular, stone-built ventilation channel (length 0.6 m, width 0.4 m; Fig. 7) was constructed. The channel was covered with a ceiling made of thick plaster, which contained holes for ventilation and cleaning. Another ventilation channel (length 0.6 m, width 0.4 m), whose outlet was set in a wall (W107; below), was discovered c. 0.5 m higher. The kiln was enclosed within two walls, an external one (W101; Fig. 8) and an internal one (W107). Wall 101, which formed the outer circle (diam. c. 13 m), was built of two–three rows of fieldstones of various sizes set directly on bedrock, and was preserved to a maximum height of two courses. Wall 107, which formed the inner circle (diam. c. 6 m), was built of a single row of fieldstones that were roughly the same size (c. 0.3 × 0.4 × 0.7 m), and was preserved to a height of one course. A soil and stone embankment (L105, L106; Fig. 8) was constructed between the two walls; several accumulation phases were exposed in a section cut through it. The embankment seems to have gotten higher as the kiln debris were discarded there. The kiln was also equipped with a vaulted superstructure whose remains were not preserved.
The kiln was built on the lower part of the hillside, in a location that did not provide the advantage of the natural wind regime; the ventilation channels made it possible for sufficient airflow into the firing chamber. Kilns equipped with multiple ventilation channels were recently exposed in Ramat Bet Shemesh (Storchan 2012) and at Khirbat Khatula (Radashkovsky 2015b). Similarly constructed kilns were previously discovered at Ramat Bet Shemesh (Radashkovsky 2015a; Tzur 2016)
, where they were dated to the Ottoman period. It therefore seems that the kiln in question should also be ascribed to this period.
Road Segment (length c. 100 m, average width c. 4 m; Figs. 9, 10). An ancient road was exposed on the hillside; it was delimited by walls (W400, W401) built of a single row of fieldstones, some of which were positioned on their narrow sides. The road was made level with small stones that filled the depressions in the bedrock.
Quarry (Figs. 11, 12). A relatively shallow, rectangular quarry (c. 3.0 × 3.5 m, max. depth 0.3 m) was discovered. The severance channels exposed in it indicate that the average size of the hewn stones measured 0.40 × 0.45 × 0.60 m. It seems that the quarry operated for a brief period of time, when the adjacent buildings were being constructed.
Basins (L300, L301; Fig. 13). A large, unworked boulder that was not detached from the bedrock, with two hewn rectangular basins (c. 0.8 × 1.0 m, depth c. 0.4 m) was found. The basins' walls were split into three parts, probably due to tectonic shifts in the ground.
Building (c. 2.5 × 4.0 m; Figs. 14, 15). The walls of the building (W202, W203, W207, W208) were founded partly on the bedrock, which sloped from northeast to southwest, and partly on a soil fill that covered the bedrock. The walls were constructed of large fieldstones, preserved up to two courses high. Another wall (W200) abutted the center of the building from the northeast; it may have been the remains of another room in the structure. The wall was built of a single row of roughly hewn stones and was preserved to a height of two courses. The floor in the building did not survive. Pottery sherds dating from the Second Temple period—a bowl (Fig. 6:1), a jar (Fig. 6:4) and a juglet (Fig. 6:5)—were discovered in the soil that had accumulated in the building. In addition, a coin (IAA 144812) of Alexander Jannaeus (80s BCE) was discovered.
Winepress (Figs. 16, 17). A simple winepress was exposed. It consisted of an elliptical treading floor (L600; diam. c. 1.5 m), which sloped to the north, and two round collecting vats (L601—diam. 0.6 m; L602—diam. 0.5 m) connected to it by way of channels. A small settling pit was hewn in the center of Collecting Vat 601. A cupmark was discovered c. 3 m northwest of the winepress.
Cupmarks (Fig. 18). Seven cupmarks (diam. 0.25–1.00 m) were found scattered across the hill. No artifacts were discovered in them; hence, they cannot be dated. The cupmarks are indicative of agricultural activity.
The excavation finds indicate the presence of a farmhouse or small settlement with an agricultural hinterland that dates to the Second Temple period. The limekiln from the Ottoman period is evidence of the continued agricultural activity at that time. The kiln and other kilns from the Ottoman period that were discovered in the area were probably used by the residents of the village of Beit Nettif.