During November 2005, a salvage excavation was conducted at Horbat ‘Eved (Permit No. A-4636; map ref. NIG 23050–5/76541–4, OIG 18050–5/26541–4), in the wake of damage to antiquities during construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by L. Porat, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), H. Smithline (photography), A. Shapiro (GPS), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), N. Getzov (ceramic consultation), H. Tahan (pottery drawing), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass) and G. Bijovsky (numismatics).
orbat ‘Eved is located at the top of the spur where the new settlement of Peqi‘in is situated. Building remains from the Roman and Byzantine periods were exposed in the excavation area (4×6 m) that was in the southern part of the ruin (Figs. 1, 2). The excavation reached neither bedrock nor virgin soil and therefore, it was impossible to determine when construction had first begun. A previous survey at the site (IAA Reports
14: Site 238) had revealed potsherds dating to the Iron Age and the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. A salvage excavation in the western part of the ruin was conducted in 2002, exposing building remains from the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods (HA-ESI 117
Stratum III. A floor of flat fieldstones (L21), meticulously set in place (Fig. 3), was exposed in a very small area (c. 1 sq m). Fragments of cooking pots (Fig. 4:1, 2) and jars (Fig. 4:3, 4) were discovered on the floor, as well as fragments of three molded glass bowls. Two of the bowls were decorated with vertical ribbing on the exterior and a horizontal strip below the rim, engraved on the interior; the third bowl has an engraved horizontal strip below the rim, on the interior (Fig. 4:5). The finds on Floor 21 dated from the first century BCE until the first half of the first century CE and the stratum should then be ascribed to the Early Roman period.
Stratum II. A floor of earth and flat fieldstones (L20; Fig. 5) was uncovered c. 0.3 m above Floor 21 of Stratum III. Floor 20 abutted a wall (W14) that was built of one row of large ashlar stones (max. dimensions 0.5×0.7×0.8 m) and preserved 0.7 m high. Several threshold stones were discovered in a wide opening (width c. 3 m) set in W14; some of the threshold stones were removed during the work at the site. It seems that this was the western wall of a public building. East of W14 was a surface (L19) of flat fieldstones whose function was unclear because the area of its exposure was very limited. The finds above Floor 20 dated to the end of the Roman period or the beginning of the Byzantine period and included bowls (Fig. 4:6, 7) and five bronze coins. Two of coins were minted in the fourth century CE and one of them dated to the years 383–395 CE (IAA 100483). The other three coins could not be identified.
Stratum I. A floor of flat fieldstones (L18) that also abutted W14 was exposed directly above Floor 20 of Stratum II. Another wall (W15; width 1.3 m), built of medium-sized ashlar stones (max. dimensions 0.28×0.30×0.58 m) and preserved 0.6 m high, was exposed c. 1.2 m to the west of W14. No diagnostic potsherds were discovered above Floor 18, yet the soil accumulation and stone collapse on the floor contained fragments of imported bowls (Fig. 4:8, 9), cooking pots (Fig. 4:10) and jars (Fig. 4:11) that dated to the sixth–seventh centuries CE.