A salvage excavation was conducted in June 2004 west of Horbat ‘Uza (Permit No. A-4187; map ref. NIG 21441/75762; OIG 16441/25762), prior to the installation of an electric pylon. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Electric Company, was directed by N. Getzov, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), H. Smithline (photography and supervision assistance), D. Syon (metal detection), A. Shapiro (GPS) and A. Grishna (field registration).
A square was excavated west of the ruin (Fig. 1). The previous excavations were conducted in the center and to the east of Horbat ‘Uza and produced much information regarding the history of the site (ESI 13). Twenty one habitation levels were identified in the excavation of 1991 on the small tell in the middle of the site. The present excavation studied the history of the settlement in this part of the site for the first time and ascertained that this area was inhabited only during some of the periods that were present on the tell. Based on the finds, the strata of the current excavation can be correlated with those of the 1991 excavation.
Stratum 21. A meager accumulation of settlement remains dating to the Pre-pottery Neolithic period was found on virgin soil, at a depth of 5.0–5.2 m below the surface.
Stratum 20. Overlying the previous layer was a floor with an accumulation that included fragments of pottery vessels from the Pottery Neolithic period, which are analogous to the Jericho IX stratum. The figurine from Stratum 16 (below) and several of the sherds found in the 1991 excavations indicate that a settlement contemporaneous with the Yarmukian culture existed at the site and predated the Stratum 20 finds of the current excavation.
Strata 19, 17 and 16. Numerous clusters that consisted of many finds, dating to the Early Chalcolithic period, were exposed in these strata. The stratigraphic continuity ascertained in the current excavation was similar to that exposed in the 1991 season and corroborated the assertion that Stratum 19 was contemporary with the Wadi Rabah culture, Stratum 17––with Jericho, Stratum VII and Stratum 16 was synchronous with Stratum XVIII at Bet She’an. The head of a figurine, discovered in Stratum 16, although its provenance was in Stratum 20, is similar to figurines of the Yarmukian culture (height 7.5 cm; Fig. 2).
Stratum 14. A thin accumulation of remains, which included a quantity of gray-burnished vessels from the beginning of the Early Bronze Age. An outstanding find was a small ceramic figurine of a roaring lion (length 8.5 cm; Fig. 3).
Stratum 9b. A natural accumulation within an ancient channel contained Early Roman potsherds that indicate the existence of a settlement from this period at the site and further confirm what had already been known from the previous excavation seasons.
Stratum 7. Thin layers of pottery workshop debris from the fifth century CE, which were exposed in previous seasons, were found. The current excavation revealed no debris from the pottery workshops of Strata 9a and 8.
Stratum 6. Substantial finds from this stratum, dating to the sixth–seventh centuries CE, were not found in the previous excavations and its existence was determined on the remains uncovered in the levels from the Middle Ages (Strata 5–1of the 1991 excavation). It turns out that a settlement from this stratum was precisely in this part of the site. The western wall (W404) of a building and the eastern wall of another building (W405) were uncovered (Fig. 4). A mosaic floor of the type common to agricultural installations abutted W405. The installation itself was not excavated as it lay beyond the limits of the excavation area; it is presumed to be a winepress. After the settlement of this stratum was abandoned, this part of the site was not reoccupied.