The limekiln consists of three main parts: a central firing chamber, a circular outer support wall, and a conduit.
Only the northeastern half of the central firing chamberwas excavated. It was hewn in bedrock on its western side (max depth 4 m). The eastern side of the firing chamber was built of small and medium-sized fieldstones (W1). Voids and gaps in the natural bedrock of the chamber’s northern side were filled with stones, set to prevent heat loss. After removal of the top soil and scattered boulders, a layer of homogenous white lime was uncovered. A metallic square box was found buried within this layer (Fig. 3). A layer of charcoal and lime was discovered below the lime layer, lying directly above the bedrock floor of the limekiln’s chamber.
Surrounding the outer periphery of the limekiln, to the east and west of the central firing chamber, two circular support walls were uncovered (W2, W3). Both walls would have served as the base to support the domed superstructure (not preserved) above the firing chamber. Wall 2, to the east of W1 and the firing chamber, was built of a single row of large fieldstones (exposed length 6 m, width 0.5 m). A brown earthen fill with small stone inclusions was discovered between W1 and W2. Similarly, W3, located to the west of the firing chamber, was built of large fieldstones set directly upon the bedrock. No remains of support walls were found to the north of the firing chamber and the natural bedrock was probably utilized for that purpose.
A wall (W4; preserved height 2.5 m) that separated the chamber from the conduit was at the northern end of the firing chamber. This wall was set directly upon the bedrock. It had three "windows", allowing proper air circulation into the firing chamber (Fig 4). The bottom and largest window was found completely sealed off by the layer of lime (L106) in the firing chamber. Entrance to the conduit was gained from the north between two parallel walls (W5, W6), which were built of small and medium fieldstones, abutting W4 in the southern end. The walls created an elongated tunnel (length 5 m, width 0.5–1.0 m), which led to the firing chamber via a step and an oval-shaped opening carved in the bedrock. The tunnel was partially capped by a band of bedrock and six large stone slabs (length 4 m); an additional segment (length 1 m) was uncovered. Above the stone slab capstones and abutting W4 at the join to the firing chamber was a concave curving wall (W7), built of a single row of fieldstones (Fig 5). Both eastern and western ends of W7 meet a natural raise in the bedrock.
No remains of the limekiln's assumingly domed superstructure were preserved as the nature of the installation requires partial dismantlement for the access of the stones. The kiln's stone-built conduit would have allowed air to flow to the central firing chamber. It is noteworthy that the location of the limekiln and the conduit on a downward slope did not take advantage of the natural wind currents. It seems that the heat generated in the firing chamber during combustion would have pulled in sufficient air to create the needed circulation. The conduit, although large enough for a person to enter, would not have been an ideal location to load the central chamber during operation. It seems likely that W7 and the abutting bedrock, located above the conduit and next to the firing chamber, are the remains of an access niche and platform. This niche would have been built into the domed superstructure and allowed for the limekiln operators to add wood and shrubs as needed into the firing chamber.
Only a few indicative potsherds, dating to the Ottoman period, were recovered from the excavation. Similarly, the other limekilns excavated in the immediate area, can also be dated to the Ottoman period. Archaeological surveys (License Nos. S-172/2010, S-182/2010) conducted in the area prior to the massive expansion of Ramat Bet Shemesh documented additional limekilns. It seems that the limekilns, located on the periphery of H. Bet Natif, were an integral part of the regional economy during the Ottoman period.