During September 2003 a salvage excavation was conducted along the northern foot of Horevot Sokho, on the southwestern shoulder of Highway 375 (Permit No. A-3984*; map ref. NIG 1970–3/6215–6; OIG 1470–3/1215–6), following the digging of a drainage channel. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Department of Public Works, was directed by A. Nagorsky, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), E. Bachar (administration), I. Lidski (pottery drawing) and C. Amit (studio photography).
The excavation area had been damaged in the past when a channel was dug.
Two probe trenches, aligned southeast–northwest (TR1–1 m wide, 60 m long; TR2–1 m wide, 10 m long), were excavated in the southwestern part of the area (Fig. 1). The excavation was suspended after underground cables were discerned. Eight probe trenches were excavated in the northeastern part of the excavation area
The trench extended from surface down to bedrock or to the exposed cables. Some four meters from the southeastern end of the trench, a rock-hewn installation (L16; Figs. 2, 3), which consisted of a straightened bedrock surface that had a 30° slant from north to south and two hewn steps further along (L19), was discovered. Two bedrock-hewn oval vats had their southern wall preserved in its entirety and the northern wall severed when the steps were cut. The hewing of the steps connected the base of the eastern vat (upper diam. 0.48 m, depth 0.62 m) to the level of the upper step (width 0.7 m, length 1.9 m), which was hewn on an incline sloping to the north and was cut by the cable trench. The western vat (upper diam. 0.62 m, depth 0.81 m) was completely preserved. A cupmark (diam. 0.18 m, depth 0.28 m) above the eastern vat and another cupmark (diam. 0.12 m, depth 0.16 m) above the western vat were hewn.
A small stone layer (L18) that abutted bedrock (Fig. 4) was exposed south of the rock-hewn installation. A similar layer was discerned at the northwestern end of TR1 (L25), yet the connection between them is broken and unclear. Numerous potsherds from the Early and Intermediate Bronze Ages were found between the stones.
TR2 (Loci 20, 24)
The excavation of this trench was suspended when the cables were exposed at an elevation of 288.14 m.
The soil fill in the two trenches contained numerous fragments of pottery vessels that dated to Early Bronze Age IV, including bowls (Fig. 5:1–5), a krater (Fig. 5:6), a jug (Fig. 5:7) and jars (Fig. 5:8–10) and the Intermediate Bronze Age, including bowls (Fig. 5:11–13), cooking pots (Fig. 5:14, 15), a holemouth jar (Fig. 5:16) and jars (Fig. 5:17, 18). Potsherds from Iron Age II included bowls (Fig. 6:1, 2), a holemouth jar (Fig. 6:3), jars (Fig. 6:4, 5) and a zoomorphic figurine (Fig. 6:6). A noteworthy find was the handle of a jar bearing a Sokho type lmlk stamped impression (Fig. 7). The impression is oval-shaped and appears on the upper part of the handle. The inscription, on both sides of the 2-winged symbol, is incomplete. The last two letters of the lmlk inscription and the place name Sokho have survived.
Eight backhoe trenches, aligned north–south, were dug to the northeast of the excavation area. Remains of walls, floors and numerous potsherds from the Early and Intermediate Bronze Ages were discovered. The remains were covered over and not documented.