During 1996 and 1998–2001 a survey was conducted in an area within the territory of the Map of Sha‘ar Ha-Gāy (License Nos. G-31/1996, G-101/1998, G-83/1999, G-17/2000, G-47/2001; Map No. 100). The survey, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was conducted by B. Zissu, G. Solimany and D. Weiss, assisted by V. Essman (surveying).
Some forty percent of the map’s area was surveyed, mostly in its middle and northern sectors. Nearly 80 sites were surveyed, including about 20 ruins, 17 winepresses, 12 stone quarries, 11 limekilns, five isolated buildings, as well as watchman’s booths, burial caves, cave dwellings and water cisterns. The ruins were mostly the remains of villages and estates that dated from the Iron Age until the Middle Ages. Agricultural installations and farming terraces, indicative of extensive agricultural activity, were in and around the ruins. It was difficult to reconstruct the plan of the buildings in most of the ruins due to the extreme destruction and plundering that occurred. The four large ruins surveyed in the northern sector of the map are described below.
Khirbat Rafeidiya (map ref. NIG 2098/6367; OIG 1598/1367). A large ruin that extended across c. 15 dunams, along the top of Har Rapid. Remains of a wall in the northern part of the site that probably encircled it, as well as plastered water cisterns and a limekiln, were surveyed. The ceramic finds were dated to the Iron Age and the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Khirbat Majnuna (map ref. NIG 2077/6381; OIG 1577/1381). A ruin that extended across c. 5 dunams, along a hilltop. The remains of ashlar-built structures and numerous architectural elements were surveyed, as well as a winepress, an olive press and many rock-cuttings located in the vicinity of the site. The ceramic finds were dated to the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
Khirbat Masmar (map ref. NIG 2069/6357; OIG 1569/1357). A small ruin that extended across c. 7 dunams, on a hilltop. The documented antiquities included buildings whose walls were preserved two to three courses high, water cisterns and a threshing floor. The ceramic finds were dated to the Iron Age and the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.
Horbat Horesh (map ref. NIG 2048/6372; OIG 1548/1372). A large ruin that extended across c. 20 dunams, over a gentle spur. Remains of buildings, preserved up to five courses high and using sporadic ashlar stones, as well as numerous architectural elements, were surveyed. A water system, consisting of hewn and built water cisterns and aqueducts was documented. The ceramic finds were dated to the Roman and Byzantine periods.