During November–December 2007, two salvage excavations were conducted in the course of Roads 3 and 12 within the developing industrial zone of Modi‘in (Permit No. A-5290*; map ref. NIG 19626–28/64320–22; OIG 14626–28/14320–22). The excavations, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by A. Hadar Construction Entrepreneurs Inc., were directed by A. Golani, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), R. Mishayev (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), O. Segal (antiquities inspection) and A. Re’em (district archaeologist).
The excavations were undertaken in the wake of archaeological inspection of development works that revealed several stone concentrations. Consequently, two excavation areas were opened, designated Area A (Road 12) and Area B (Road 3).
This area is located in a shallow topographical depression between Horbat Bizqa to the northeast and Horbat Kefar Tov to the southwest. Six stone concentrations (Sub-Areas A–F) were exposed during the archaeological inspection (Fig. 1) and, except for one (Sub-Area D), each was excavated manually.
Sub-Area A. Two small probes were opened after development work had damaged the antiquities in this area. A stone clearance heap of unclear size (Fig. 2), which was partially contained within a low retaining wall, built of one row of large fieldstones, was exposed. A limited amount of indicative potsherds from the clearance heap spanned the Late Hellenistic to the Early Byzantine periods.
Sub-Area B. The remains of two parallel field walls built of large fieldstones and set upon the sterile alluvium soil (Fig. 3) were discovered in one square. One of the field walls may be traced all the way to Sub-Areas C and F (see Fig. 1). The very limited amount of worn potsherds did not enable dating this feature.
Sub-Area C. A portion of the field wall exposed in Sub-Area B and built of one to two rows of large fieldstones, set upon the sterile alluvium, was revealed (Fig. 4). To the north of this wall, part of a stone clearance heap that postdated the field wall was uncovered. The heap was demarcated by a curving agglomeration of large to medium-sized fieldstones, which encompassed a fill of small stones.
The main feature in this area was a wall of crescent shape, built of one row of large fieldstones and preserved two courses high, with the lowest course jutting out in a step fashion. The northwestern face of the wall was well-built, while the opposite side appears to have been set upon soil, appearing as a terrace wall. To the northwest of the wall and within its curve, a well-built stone pavement of semicircular shape was revealed. This entire construction, set upon sterile alluvial soil, is interpreted as a dam. The curve of the wall faces upslope, while the stone pavement was intended to prevent any water overflow from eroding the earth away from the base of the dam wall.
The very limited amount of worn potsherds was not helpful in dating any of these features; yet similar constructions that had been excavated in the nearby region (Permit No. A-4028; HA-ESI 120) indicate that the dam itself could have been built as recently as 1953 CE by the Jewish National Fund, as part of a regional unemployment-environmental project.
Sub-Area E. Located 50 m to the southeast and upslope from Sub-Area C, the remains of another dam, nearly identical in construction to the previous one, was revealed (Fig. 5). The existence of two nearly identical structures in proximity to one another makes it highly likely that they were both built at the same time as part of the same building project.
Sub-Area F. Two half squares were opened, revealing the remains of a field wall built of one to two rows of large to medium-sized fieldstones, set upon sterile alluvium soil (Fig. 6). This appears to be the same wall uncovered in Sub-Areas B and C.
This area was in a leveled plain to the east of Horbat Nekhes. Two stone concentrations were recorded during the archaeological inspection, buried under c. 0.7 m of alluvial soil. A badly preserved roadway, set upon sterile alluvium, was revealed. The roadway (traced for 55 m), oriented southeast–northwest, was built of 2–3 rows of large to medium-sized fieldstones with a core of small to medium-sized stones. The width of the roadway in its northwestern portion reached a maximum of 6 m, whereas the southeastern portion was not well preserved.
According to maps of the mandatory era, this roadway, to the southeast of Horbat Nekhes (Khirbat el-Kunnisa) may have been the track that connected the abandoned villages of Barfiliya to the northeast and el-Qubâb to the southwest, both of which were built upon earlier remains. The limited amount of potsherds recovered from the stone fill of the roadway was too poor and worn for determination of a date, yet the manner of construction appears to resemble many such roadways that are dated to the Roman period.