In July 2016, a trial excavation was conducted at Horbat Gilan (South; Permit No. A-7762; map ref. 20370–95/710031–93), prior to the laying of a gas pipeline. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Natural Gas Pipeline Company Ltd., was directed by A. Masarwa (photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), A. Dagot and C. Ben-Ari (GPS), P. Gendelman (scientific guidance) and K. Sa‘id and M. Hater (IAA Haifa District).
The current excavation unearthed and documented remains of a winepress, a quarry for building stones and a cupmark (Fig. 2).
Winepress. Remains of a winepress were unearthed at the northwest end of the excavation area: a rectangular treading floor (L100; 1.10 × 1. 25 m, max. depth 0.25 m; Figs. 3, 4), which sloped to the southwest, and a hewn channel leading to a circular collecting vat (0.72 × 0.78 m, depth 0.6 m). The winepress was of the ‘simple winepress’ type (Frankel 1999:51–52), in which the upper part, where the crushing and pressing took place, is usually sloped, so that the liquid drained into a collecting vat via a channel or hole. This type of winepress is very ancient but continued to be used during the Roman and Byzantine periods. No diagnostic finds were recovered, and it was impossible to date the winepress based on its form.
Quarry. Remains of a quarry (6.1 × 9.5 m; Figs. 5, 6) for the extraction of building stones were documented at the southern end of the excavation area. The chalkbedrock, typical of the region, is covered with a thin layer of nari. The rock retained quarrying negatives of building stones of various sizes and along either a north–south alignment or an east–west one. The stonecutters apparently sought to exploit the thin layer of nari rock, for it was particularly suitable for construction purposes: while it is hard enough to ensure the production of high-quality masonry stones, it is sufficiently soft to allow efficient and rapid quarrying. The quarrymen did not continue to extract the soft chalk rock once the nari layer was removed.
Similar quarries uncovered in the southern part of Nahal ‘Iron (Gorzalczany 2007; Yannai 2010) allow us to date this quarry to the fourth–fifth centuries CE.
Cupmark. A rock-hewn cupmark was documented (diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.23 m; Fig. 7) but could not be dated.
The finds from the excavation should be added to finds from previous excavations at Horbat Gilan (south), which were conducted prior to the construction of Highway 6.
Dagan Y. and Sadeh S. 2008. Horbat Gilan (South). HA-ESI 120.
Frankel R. 1999. Wine and Oil Production in Antiquity in Israel and Other Mediterranean Countries (ASOR Monographs 10). Sheffield.
Gorzalczany A. 2005. Horbat Gilan (South). HA-ESI 117.
Gorzalczany A. 2007. Stone Quarries at Horbat Gilan, in the Menashe Hills. ‘Atiqot 55:37–44 (Hebrew; English summary, pp. 55–56).
Gorzalczany A. and Sharvit J. 2007. Horbat Gilan. HA-ESI 119.
Mahajna S. 2006. Horbat Gilan (South). HA-ESI 118.
Yannai E. 2010. Horbat Nazur: Settlement Remains from the Iron Age through the Hellenistic Period and an Industrial Area from the Byzantine Period. ‘Atiqot 64:63*–97* (Hebrew; English summary, pp. 156–159).