During February 2005, a salvage excavation was conducted at Kh. Farfur (South) in the southern Golan Heights (Permit No. A- 4384*; map ref. NIG 27368–415/75400–35; OIG 22368–415/25400–35), prior to the construction of henhouses. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and sponsored by Moshav Ma‘ale Gamla, was directed by O. Zingboym (photography), with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting) and N. Getzov (guidance).
Six cairns were excavated east of Highway 98 (Area A) and another area (Area B) was opened along the route of a damaged road that extended south of Area A (Fig. 1). The excavation area was located along a basalt plain that gently descends to the southeast. Remains of a settlement from the Chalcolithic period (Rasm al-Kabsh; HA 74-75 [Hebrew]; IAA Reports No. 4) had previously been excavated near the current excavation, to the east of which passes a Roman road that ascends from the Sea of Galilee in the west and continues to the Huran in the east. Farther along the road to the west a watchtower had previously been exposed (ESI 1:32–33) and several clusters of milestones were located nearby. Some 200 m east of the excavation a milestone was documented near the road and a watchtower may have been present there.
Cairn 3 (Fig. 2) consisted of two stone circles in its base (diam. 5.5 m and 6.5 m). It was apparently a dolmen whose burial cell was not preserved.
Cairn 4 (Figs. 3, 4) was built of small and medium-sized fieldstones. At the base of the cairn was a rectangular structure (6.6 × 8.0 m) whose walls retained a soil fill. A few potsherds from the Roman period were recovered from the excavation in the center of the structure down to bedrock. It appears that the walls were used to delimit a cultivation plot in the Roman period or later and were concealed below a piled-up stone clearance. The structure was probably used for burial in an earlier stage.
Cairn 5 (diam. 12 m) was a stone clearance heap on bedrock. It was devoid of finds and had no building remains at its base.
Cairn 7 (Fig. 5), built of small and medium-sized fieldstones, was delimited by two circles of stone (diam. 10 and 12 m). A sounding (3 × 3 m) excavated in the center of the cairn revealed no architectural remains, yet potsherds dating to the middle Roman period were found. This may have been a dolmen that was disrupted during the Roman period, apparently because of the nearby Roman road.
Cairn 8 was built of two stone circles (diam. 4.5 and 6.8 m). A rectangular area excavated in the middle of the cairn down to bedrock contained no artifacts. It is possible that this was a dolmen whose burial cell was destroyed.
Cairn 13 (diam. 14 m; Figs. 6, 7) consisted of an elongated burial cell in the center, built of large stone slabs (0.8 × 4.5 m) and covered with stone slabs, which was devoid of finds. The cell, plundered in the past, was accessed by an entrance corridor that was also built of stone slabs.
The excavation (8 × 8 m) along the course of the road exposed bedrock at a depth of 0.35–0.60 m below surface. Medium-sized fieldstones, overlain with smaller stones, were deposited on bedrock to form a level of uniform elevation (Figs. 8, 9). Modern artifacts, including metal and ammunition from the Yom-Kippur War in 1973, were discovered at a depth of 0.2 m below surface. This was apparently a Syrian military road that paralleled the Roman road, which was 10 m to its south in this section. The Syrian road overlapped the Roman road c. 200 m east of the excavation area. The Roman road (width 7–8 m), documented during the excavation, was delimited on both sides by curbstones and had a stone wall running down its center.