Two areas (A, B; Fig. 3) were opened in the current excavation. Area A was characterized by large bedrock outcrops, where cist graves, quarries and rock-cuttings were exposed. Area B was characterized by smaller, scattered bedrock outcrops, in which twelve sites (A–L) were excavated. These yielded what seems to be a ritual bath (miqveh), as well as quarries, tombs and a farming terrace wall; no antiquities were discovered in Sites C, J and L. Three burial caves were documented in an area west of Highway 65 (Area M) which was disturbed. One of the tombs probably had loculi hewn in it; an ossuary was found.
Eight rock-cut cist tombs (3–5, 8, 9; 0.55–0.70 × 2.00 m), six of which were hewn in pairs (3, 4, 9), two building stone quarries (6, 7) and rock-cuttings (1, 2) were exposed. Two of the double tombs (3, 4) were hewn in a north–south direction, and the third double tomb (9) was aligned in a northeast–southwest direction. The three remaining cist tombs were hewn in a northwest–southeast direction. The chisel marks in the two quarries suggest that large building stones (c. 0.7 × 1.0 m) were produced in them.
Site A (Figs. 4, 5). A rectangular opening (1.2 × 2.5 m; Fig. 6) hewn in soft limestone bedrock was exposed. A staircase comprising five steps (width 0.3–0.4 m, height of step c. 0.3 m, depth of staircase 1.8 m) descended from the opening. A bedrock ledge (width 0.45 m) was hewn in the southern wall of the staircase. The treads of the steps were extremely worn and rounded, evidence of intensive use. The steps and bedrock walls around them were coated with hydraulic plaster. At the bottom of the staircase was an opening that faced north, leading to a rock-hewn cavity which was not excavated. This appears to be a ritual bath (miqveh) because and plan resemble those of a miqveh that was exposed in the southern part of Horbat Huqoq (Magness 2012). At some point, probably in the Roman period, the bath’s ceiling was damaged and its western part collapsed; it is unclear if this occurred while the bath was in use or sometime thereafter. After the bath was abandoned, it filled up with alluvium to the height of the middle step. The fill contained fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods (fourth–sixth centuries CE), including bowls (Fig. 7:1–3), a cooking pot and a lid (Fig. 7:4, 5) and a jar (Fig. 7:6). Part of a wall (W2; length 6.5 m, width 0.8 m) was exposed south of the miqveh. It was built of large fieldstones in an east–west direction and was preserved to a height of one course. There is apparently no connection between the wall and the nearby miqveh(?).
Site B (Fig. 8). A rectangular rock-cut pit (L3; 2.5 × 3.0 m, max. depth 2.5 m; Fig. 9) was exposed on a limestone surface. A step (width 0.5 m) was hewn along the southern wall of the pit, c. 0.5 m above its floor. A hewn opening was discerned in the northern side of the pit. It was blocked by a large rectangular stone secured in place with small- and medium-sized fieldstones (Fig. 10). The opening was not excavated. The opening might have led to a burial cave, and thus the hewn pit served as a courtyard in front of the cave, consisting of a bench used by mourners participating in the funerary ceremonies. Similar, more magnificent caves, were discovered in Beth She‘arim and Jerusalem (Tepper and Tepper 2004:24); the settlement at the site was rural, and the burial cave was accordingly modest. Dozens of burial caves, some rock-hewn and some natural, were discovered north and east of Horbat Huqoq.
In previous excavations at the site, four burial caves with loculi and ossuaries but without forecourts were unearthed (Ravani and Kahane 1961:121–125). These probably served a Jewish population residing at the site during the second and third centuries CE (Tepper, Der‘in and Tepper 2000:73). A cist tomb (L4; c. 0.55 × 2.00 m; Fig. 11) was hewn near the eastern wall of the pit.
An alluvial accumulation containing numerous pottery sherds dating from the Early Roman period until the Byzantine period was found in the hewn pit. The artifacts from the Roman period include Kefar Hananya Type 1B bowls (Fig. 12:1, 2), dating to the first–second centuries CE; Kefar Hananya Type 3A (Fig. 12: 3, 4) and Type 4B cooking pots (Fig. 12:5–7), dating to the first century BCE–mid-second centuries CE; a jug (Fig. 12:8) dating to the second century CE; and jars (Fig. 12:9–14) dating from the early first century to the late third century CE. The finds from the Byzantine period include a Kefar Hananya Type 1E bowl (Fig. 12:15), dating from the fourth century to the early fifth century CE; LRRW bowls (Fig. 12:16–18) dating to the fifth–sixth centuries CE; a krater decorated with a broad pointed tool prior to firing (Fig. 12:19); and a hand-made krater decorated with a flat-tooth comb (Fig. 12:20). The ceramic finds seem to indicate that the burial cave(?) was used during the Early and Middle Roman periods and that at some point during the second or third century CE it ceased to be used, and refuse and alluvium accumulated there.
Site D (Fig. 13). Chisel marks from the quarrying of building stones were discerned on a soft limestone surface.
Site E (Fig. 14). A pair of cist tombs (0.55 × 1.70 m) aligned in an east–west direction were hewn in a soft limestone surface protruding slightly above its surroundings. All that remained of the northern tomb was its southern part. At the western end of the southern tomb was a low, hewn ledge, on which the head of the deceased probably rested, possibly indicating the position in which the body was placed. Approximately 0.5 m southwest of the tombs was a small rectangular rock-cutting (0.30 × 0.55 m), apparently a child’s tomb or a pit in which bones were collected for secondary burial (Tepper, Der‘in and Tepper 2000:78)
Site F (Figs. 15, 16) yielded an agricultural terrace retaining wall (exposed length 25 m, width 1.2 m) built of two rows of large fieldstones and a core of small fieldstones and oriented in a southeast–northwest direction; it was preserved one course high. Several fragments of green- and yellow-glazed pottery vessels dating to the Mamluk period (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE) were discovered between the stones in the wall. Other well-preserved sections of the wall were visible on the ruin and among the olive trees east of the site.
Site G (Figs. 17, 18) yielded a building-stone quarry on a limestone level outcrop. The chisel marks indicate that large building stones (width c. 1 m) were hewn in the quarry.
Site H (Fig. 19) yielded a building-stone quarry on a large limestone level outcrop (Figs. 20, 21). Severance channels, clearly visible in the quarry, indicate that large stones were hewn there (in excess of 0.5 × 2.0 m). The quarrying along the middle of the bedrock outcrop was c. 2 m deep. A natural cavity in the bedrock was discovered in the middle of the quarry. After the quarry was abandoned, it filled up with alluvium that contained several abraded pottery sherds. A cist tomb (Fig. 22) hewn in an east–west direction was discovered c. 2 m southwest of the quarry. The short eastern wall of the tomb was curved and this was apparently the place where the head of the deceased was placed.
Site I (Figs. 23, 24) yielded a rock-hewn shaft in a limestone outcrop. The shaft opening was rectangular (1.2 × 2.2 m, depth 3.5 m). On each wall, halfway down the shaft, was a narrow, rock-cut ledge on which a cover was probably placed. At the bottom of the shaft’s northeastern wall was a hewn opening that led into a cave. Although the cave was not inspected, the shape of the shaft seems to suggest it was an entrance shaft to a burial cave.
Tombs, a ritual bath(?), quarries, farming terrace walls and rock-cuttings were revealed in bedrock surfaces west of Horbat Huqoq; they were probably hewn during different periods by the residents of the settlement that was situated at the ruin. At Sites A and B in Area B, soil accumulations were discovered with fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods. It seems that these two sites were used during the Roman period (first–second centuries CE), followed by the accumulation of alluvium in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.