The current excavation unearthed a limestone-built dolmen that consisted of a burial chamber surrounded by a tumulus. To its south lay the remains of structures and military installations from the time of the British Mandate (Fig. 2).
(Figs. 3, 4), identified as Site 1 in the survey (Stepansky and Bron 2011
), is located on a westward facing slope. It lacks a covering of the type ascribed to Type 2 in Epstein’s typology (Epstein 1985), has a trapezoid burial chamber (length 1.2 m, width 0.7–1.0 m, depth 0.9–1.2 m) constructed of three large stone slabs (0.20 × 0.95 × 1.20–1.70 m) and an eastward facing opening. The burial chamber was surrounded by an elliptical tumulus (diam. 6–8 m)—a mound of fieldstones of various sizes piled in no particular order—surrounded by a wall built of fieldstones (c. 0.2 × 0.3 × 0.4 m) preserved up to three courses high; a round depression (L103; depth 0.6 m) was detected in the south part of the tumulus. Similar depressions are known at the dolmen field near Moshav Amnun (Alexandre 2017
) and in a tumulus near Kibbutz Shamir, where the dolmen contains rock art (Sharon et al. 2017
). The meager soil deposits in the depression and between the stones of the tumulus were devoid of finds. On excavating the burial chamber (L101), modern round tin caps were found at a depth of 0.2 m, beneath an accumulation of soil and small stones. Another soil layer (average depth 1 m) had accumulated on the limestone bedrock, on which the stone slabs forming the burial chamber were placed. The accumulation contained very few ribbed and worn potsherds from the Roman period. At the bottom of the deposit was a human finger bone. Similar small potsherds were recovered from the rock surface in the burial chamber, suggesting that it had already been robbed in antiquity.
An accumulation of soil was excavated in the corners of the burial chamber and between the stone slabs and the bedrock floor (Fig. 5). This accumulation yielded bones and teeth of small rodents, an unidentified potsherd and nine perforated ivory-colored disk-shaped beads made of ostrich eggshell (diam. 5 mm; Fig. 6). The beads (Golani Bead Type VI.1, Flat disk, Beck Type I.A.2.b) were common during many periods, but particularly in the Intermediate Bronze Age (Golani 2013
The excavation of the area east of the burial chamber uncovered a large stone slab (L108; 0.2 × 0.5 × 1.2 m), possibly the roofing slab for a cell. Beneath it were very few worn ribbed potsherds from the Roman or Byzantine periods.
To investigate the dolmen and attempt to understand its date, the northeast quarter of the tumulus (L107) was removed, but no finds were retrieved apart from two unidentified flint flakes. It is clear, however, that the dolmen was part of a complex of dolmens and tumuli that was robbed in antiquity. Despite the paucity of finds, the beads, which were particularly common during the Intermediate Bronze Age, combined with known data on dolmens in Israel (Sharon et al. 2017
) suggest that this dolmen also belongs to this period.
British Mandate Building Remains
. A partly hewn, partly constructed defensive outpost was documented in the excavation area prior to its demolition (Figs. 7, 8). It belonged to a localized defense system (Fig. 9:I–IV) and formed part of the outlying defenses of Z
efat and Rosh Pinna (Royal Air Force 1945a; 1945b
; Fig. 10). The outpost was built by civilians from Z
efat in the service of the British army (‘Abassi 1999
). The system was built according to plans drawn up by Lieutenant General Sir Philip Neame
in preparation for defending the north of the country from Nazi forces at the beginning of World War II (Gelber 1979
). Its plan and structure resemble those of other outposts along the defense system, with a hewn communications trench (width 0.9 m, depth c. 1.3 m) linking a circular fortified position in the east with a similar one in the west. The center of the fortified outpost contained an oval mound surrounded by a communications trench leading to a small, partially concealed room in the upper north part of the stronghold. The room was built of concrete and stone, but the walls were found to be destroyed and had collapsed. Similar rooms were identified in other positions at the site, and several contained metal frames of bunk beds that remained where they had been left. The outpost was built of stones that were roughly hewn; these lined the inside of the communication trenches to a height of eight courses. The large amount of stone chippings and dressing debris indicates that the stones were worked on site. The location of the defense system gave the forces stationed there an excellent view of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan slopes (Fig. 11).
To the north of the outpost is a rectangular rock-hewn cistern (2.4 × 6.4 m; Fig. 12) with a square opening (0.8 × 0.8 m) whose upper part was built slightly above the surface. The cistern also appears in RAF photos from 1945 (Royal Air Force 1945a
), and it is therefore possible that it was contemporary with the fortification and formed part of it. Since the cistern was filled with stones and refuse, it was impossible to estimate its size. Similar cisterns are located further down the spur, beside other clusters of outposts, and their construction would therefore seem to have been linked to the defensive system.
Also documented was part of a road (Fig. 13) that belonged to a perimeter route (c. 4 km long) running to the south of the neighborhoods on Mount Canaan and linking the military outposts in this area (Royal Air Force 1945a
). The road was paved using the ‘soling’ technique, typical of the British Mandate period (Roll and Avner 2008
) and does not feature on pre-World War II maps of the region (Survey of Egypt 1918
; Karmon 1960
). It thus seems to have been laid as part of the British defense system.
The finds from the time of the British Mandate had not been documented prior to the current excavation, nor are they mentioned in archaeological surveys conducted to date at Ramat Razim, apparently because they are not covered by the Antiquities Law (1978). The absence of a statutory body charged with protecting and preserving such remains effectively leaves them open to demolition.