In December 2017 and January 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Ridge Compound in ‘Atlit (Permit No. A-8171; map ref. 194873/733674; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a traffic circle. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Industrial Buildings Company, Ltd., was directed by S. Emmanuilov, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), Y. Marmelstein (aerial photography), I.E. Delerson (plans) and L. Talmi (consultation).
The excavation site, southeast of the Crusader fortress, was previously excavated in 2015 (Permit No. A-7439), yielding the remains of agricultural settlement from the Persian period, which were barely preserved due to intensive quarrying operations during Byzantine and Crusader periods. Also excavated were a quarry (Permit No. A-8220) and a rock-hewn road. The current excavation unearthed the eastward continuation of the road, which was rather well preserved (Fig. 2).
The road (L13; exposed length 19 m, average width 1.8 m, average depth c. 0.2 m; Fig. 3), sloping westward, was hewn into the kurkar
bedrock. On both sides of the road, along its entire length, were two channels (width 0.25 m, depth 0.1 m beneath road level), which were probably created by the wheels of carts traveling along the road. A rock-hewn courtyard, which had been discovered in the past (Ronen and Olami 1978
:16*, Site 105
), was identified approximately 40 m east of the road. The road was probably linked to this courtyard, although no physical connection was unearthed (Fig. 4). Beside the road, to its north, was a severance channel (0.45 × 0.60 m), which attests to the incomplete quarrying of a building stone (Fig. 5); a negative of another quarried stone was found alongside it.
The road segment unearthed in the excavation is a continuation of the rock-hewn road that was excavated in the past; it could not be dated. The road was cut into the bedrock from east to west, apparently leading from the kurkar ridge to a settlement located on the coast. The quarry beside the road is not surprising, as several quarries had been discovered in the vicinity in previous excavations.