Area A
Limekiln. The kiln was hewn in the shape of an inverted cone (L104; upper diam. 3.5 m, lower diam. 2.5 m, depth 2.5 m; Fig. 2). A recess (width 1.7 m, depth 0.5 m, height 1.25 m) hewn in the western side of the installation was probably an attempt to hew a flue that was diverted farther to the southwest. At the bottom of the kiln, a square rock-cutting was discerned, perhaps the result of quarrying masonry stones from the bottom layer of the rock, which formed benches on the eastern and southern sides of the kiln (Fig. 3). The eastern bench was long and wide (length 1.45 m, width 0.7 m, height 0.56 m) and the southern one was shorter and lower (length 1.1 m, width 0.6 m, height 0.5 m); at their foot was a kind of step (length 1.1 m, width 0.15 m, height 0.06 m).
Small pieces of carbonized wood were found within a depression in bedrock at the bottom of the kiln. A hewn channel to the southwest of the kiln (L110; length 2.5 m, width 1.5–2.5 m, max. height 1.3 m) was used to stoke the installation with fuel. A ventilation conduit, probably situated north of the kiln, was using a natural depression in bedrock (L113) together with stone construction (W115; length 1 m, width 0.2 m, height 0.15 m). Several sections of a single course of stone construction that belonged to the base of the dome survived along the upper edge of the kiln (W116; overall length 5.6 m, width 0.4 m, height 0.27 m).
Next to the kiln, partly burnt limestone, ash and numerous fragments of Gaza-type vases that dated to the Ottoman period or the British Mandate era were found, including bowls (Fig. 4:4, 5) and a jug (Fig. 4:8). In the vicinity of the flue was the handle of a baggy-shaped jar from the Byzantine period. A cooking pot fragment that has a delicate wall and is dated to the Roman period was found south of the kiln, beneath a stone clearance heap (Fig. 4:2).
Area B
Granary. This installation consisted of an elongated cave (L226; length 5.5 m, max. width 3.7 m, height 2.2 m; Fig. 5) and had three openings: a natural, upper opening around which was a stone circle built of two–three courses (L220; 0.3 × 0.5 m, diam. 1 m; Fig. 6); a rectangular opening in the north, from which the rock-cutting had begun (0.7 × 1.2 m) and another opening that was formed when part of the ceiling in the northeast collapsed. Signs of crude rock-cuttings were discerned on the walls of the cave. Traces of soot were noted on the lower part of these rock-cuttings, indicating that the cave was “dried” before it was used. A layer of dark gray organic material on the bottom served as covering of the floor. It seems that the granary was filled from the upper narrow opening and the grain was removed via the northern opening.
Inside the cave were fragments of black Gaza ware and a piece of a Hebron glass bracelet (Fig. 4:9). Potsherds found near the granary included a bowl (Fig. 4:1) and a cooking pot (Fig. 4:3) from the Roman period and a jug (Fig. 4:6) from the Ottoman period–British Mandate era.
The northern part of the cave was filled with layers of refuse and alluvium and it apparently ceased to be used prior to the abandonment of the farm. Three rock-hewn pits had previously been discovered in the farm’s courtyard, east of the excavation, and were identified as water cisterns (Map of Lakhish [98]:99). However, in the absence of rope marks on their openings, it seems they were probably intended for storing grain in place of the granary that went out of use.
Water Cistern (L225; diam. 4.5 m, depth c. 5 m; Figs. 7, 8). Ancient rope marks could be discerned on the aperture (diam. 0.9 m) of the cistern. Run-off probably entered the cistern from the east where a feeder channel that was blocked by bedrock collapse was present. The collapse of bedrock crust in the western part of the cistern resulted in the cessation of the cistern’s usage and its having been turned into a refuse pit. The cistern contained black Gaza pottery vessels, such as a jar (Fig. 4:7), which dated to the Ottoman period or the time of the British Mandate era.