During December 2002–January 2003 a survey was conducted along the hills south of Moshav Rogelit (Permit No. A-3795*; map ref. NIG 20120–275/61886–980; OIG 15120–275/11886–980). The survey, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by the Eden Hills Association, was performed by A. Nagorsky and H. Stark, with the assistance of L. Barda (GPS).
The surveyed area included four main sites: Horbat Buz, Horbat ‘Illit, Horbat ‘Orva and Khirbat al-Maq‘ura. One hundred and forty seven sites (Fig. 1) represented a variety of finds, which included ruins, caves, rock-hewn agricultural installations, water cisterns, watchman’s towers, stone clearance heaps, farming terraces and the remains of ancient roads.
(No. 108). Remains of at least five buildings were found, each consisting of three–four rooms arranged around courtyards. The walls were built of fieldstones and coarsely dressed ashlars (preserved height 1.5–2.0 m). The ruin was enclosed within a wall of medium and large fieldstones. In the wake of illicit digging, it was ascertained that the soil fill in the rooms included numerous collapsed stones, potsherds from the Iron Age and the Hellenistic period, grinding stones and glass fragments. Between the ruin and the main site at H
orbat ‘Orva was an ancient road (No. 105; width 1.8–2.0 m), delimited by medium-sized fieldstones, which were founded on bedrock.
Building Remains (Nos. 66, 90, 139, 147)
Site 66, located in a wadi between Horbat ‘Illit and Horbat ‘Orva, included the remains of a large building with four–five rooms (10 × 15 m). The walls of the structure were built of especially large fieldstones and roughly hewn stones, founded on top of bedrock and preserved two–three courses high. A large bedrock outcrop that had remains of rock-cuttings protruded in the center of the main room. The building’s southern wall was a retaining wall of the ancient road (No. 67; width 1.8–2.0 m) that linked the two main ruins. The road’s curb consisted of medium and large fieldstones. Other sections of this road (Nos. 77, 78) were located close to the top of the hill on which Horbat ‘Orva is situated. Next to the western side of the building was a hewn water cistern with a circular opening (diam. 0.8 m).
Site 90 (Fig. 2), along the southern fringes of Khirbet al-Maq‘ura, included a building that had at least five rooms surrounding a central courtyard. The walls of the structure were built of coarsely dressed stones, standing at least three–four courses high. Near the walls were piles of soil replete with Roman-period potsherds that alluded to illicit digging.
Site 139 was located on a flat hill above Nahal Gedor where the remains of two buildings, preserved 1.0–1.5 m high, were discovered. The walls of the structures were built in a manner similar to the walls of the building at Site 90. Remains of plundering were also noted in this building, which was dated to the Roman period, based on the potsherds.
Building remains at Site 147 could belong to a watchman’s tower, with a curved northern wall. The walls of the structure, founded on bedrock and preserved one–two courses high, were built of medium and large fieldstones.
(Nos. 8, 13, 16, 17, 28, 29, 30, 56, 64, 88, 111, 114, 128, 130).
Watchman’s Towers 8, 16, 17, 28, 30, 64, 114, 128, 130 (2.5 X 2.5 m), whose walls were founded on top of bedrock, were built of dry construction utilizing medium and large stones. The interior of the towers was found clean of soil. The walls of Tower 13 were preserved one–three courses high. It was found full of stones and may have been used as a stone clearance heap. Near Tower 29 (2.0 × 2.5 m) was a rectangular, bedrock-hewn installation (1.8 × 2.0 m), with five small shallow cupmarks around it. Four Watchman’s Towers, identical in size (2 × 3 m) and 5–10 m apart, were located in Site 56; their walls, founded above bedrock, were preserved to a maximum of four–five courses high. The towers were practically clean of any soil. Near Tower 88 (2.5 × 3.0 m) was a cupmark (diam. 0.2 m), similar to the one near Tower 111 (3 × 3 m).
Winepresses (Nos. 9, 26, 59, 63, 86, 93, 112, 117, 119, 127, 134, 135, 141). The thirteen exposed winepresses could be divided into four groups, based on the shape of their treading floor. The first group included Winepresses 9, 26, 112 (Fig. 3), 117, 127, 135 that had rectangular treading floors and straight sided collecting vats. Near Winepress 9 was a cupmark (diam. 0.18 m) and c. 1 m east of the collecting vat were two other cupmarks, hewn in bedrock surface. The second group was represented by Winepress 59 whose treading floor (3.2 × 3.4 m) was bedrock hewn (depth 0.3–0.4 m). The floor sloped toward the collecting vat located to the south. A shallow rock-hewn channel extended from nearly the center of the treading floor to the vat, similar to Winepress 86. Next to the eastern side of the treading floor was another treading floor (2.75 × 2.90 m), the location of whose collecting vat was unclear due to the vegetation and earth that covered the site. The third group consisted of Winepresses 63 and 134 that had rectangular treading floors with rounded corners and hewn collecting vats located to their west. Below the treading floor in Winepress 63 was a rock-hewn cave with a wide opening. The fourth group comprised three winepresses (93, 119, 141) with treading floors and especially small collecting vats that were found in several regions of the survey. Winepress 93 had a treading floor (1.9 × 2.3 m) and a collecting vat with round corners (0.6 × 0.6 m). Winepress 119 (Fig. 4) had a treading floor (1.2 × 1.3 m) and a hewn collecting vat (0.5 × 0.6 m) to its south. Nearby were three bedrock-hewn cupmarks. Winepress 141 had a treading floor (1.1 × 1.5 m) and a hewn collecting vat (0.4 × 0.4 m), adjacent to its long side.
Bodedot for Extracting Olive Oil (Nos. 11, 22, 55, 61, 94, 97, 98, 131). Installations 11, 22, 55, 94, 98 and 131 had a shallow elliptical press bed and a cupmark for collecting the liquid (diam. 0.18–0.20 m). Next to Bodeda 11 were four small cupmarks. Bodedot 61 and 97 had round press beds (diam. 0.8–0.9 m) and a collecting basin (diam. 0.45 m). Near Bodeda 61 was a stone clearance heap (diam. 5 m) surrounded by a retaining wall built of medium-sized fieldstones. Around Bodeda 97 was a concentration of rock-hewn cupmarks on bedrock outcrops (Fig. 5).
Cupmarks (Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7,18, 21, 23, 29-1, 36, 46, 52, 57, 65, 70, 71, 82, 82-1,100, 102, 113, 120, 133, 136, 140, 142, 145). Numerous cupmarks, hewn in leveled bedrock outcrops, were found throughout the survey region. Cupmarks 3, 6, 7, 29-1, 52 and 113 were conical (upper diam. up to 0.2 m). Another group of cupmarks included Nos. 4, 21, 23, 120 and 145 (diam. up to 0.4 m). The largest group (18, 57, 65, 70, 102 (Fig. 6), 133, 136, 140, 142) comprised the large cupmarks (diam. 0.5–0.6 m). Cupmarks 71 (Fig. 7), 82, 82-1 and 100 were elliptical (0.18 × 0.30 m, depth 0.12–0.15 m) and formed a separate group. At Site 36 were eight cupmarks and a rectangular vat (1.5 × 1.8 m). At Site 46, three cupmarks (average diam. 0.2 m) were hewn in a bedrock surface (5 × 6 m) and a rectangular vat (0.8 × 2.0 m) next to them may have been a collecting vat of a winepress.
(Nos. 15, 31, 38, 43, 53, 68, 87, 92, 106, 115, 116, 121, 123, 144). Rock-hewn water cisterns were discovered in the vicinity of the ruins and in the agricultural areas. Most of them had rounded openings (diam. 0.8–1.2 m). A cave with a hewn rectangular opening (0.8 × 1.0 m) was near Cistern 106. Situated on a broad farming terrace, Site 87 had two water cisterns whose sides were coated with gray plaster and a large cave with a wide opening, filled with earth. The opening to Cistern 92 (1.0 × 1.2 m) was blocked by a large stone and near its brim was a hewn cupmark (diam. 0.85 m). Water Cisterns 38 and 116 had elliptical openings (0.85–1.10 m). Cistern 115 was originally a cave and three hewn terraces led to it. Its interior was coated with gray hydraulic plaster. The opening to Water Cistern or Cave 121 was destroyed and it was filled half way with soil.
Rock-cuttings (Nos. 47, 143). Two small rock-cuttings; each had at least four hewn corners.
Ancient Roads (Nos. 54, 85, 105). Road 54 (1.8–2.2 m) apparently led to Horbat Buz and to cultivation plots (Fig. 8). Its curb consisted of medium and large fieldstones, founded on top of bedrock. Next to the southern end of the road was a cupmark (diam. 0.55 m). Sections of Ancient Roads 85 and 105 led from Khirbat al-Maq‘ura to Horbat ‘Orva (width 1.5–1.8 m); the curbs were composed of medium-sized fieldstones and founded on bedrock. Several rock-cut installations were situated next to the road.
Stone Clearance Heaps (Nos. 14, 40, 96, 125, 132). All the heaps (diam. 5–6 m) were delimited by walls built of small and medium-sized fieldstones, except for Clearance Heap 96, which was the largest of them (4.7 × 8.0 m) and may have covered an ancient building.
Animal Pens (Nos. 10, 33, 69, 95). Four animal pens of various sizes were found in the survey region (Pen 10— 7 × 10 m; Pen 33—15 × 20 m; Pen 69—5 × 7 m; Pen 95—15 × 15 m). They were enclosed within walls of medium and large fieldstones that were set on bedrock and preserved two–courses high.
Cave Dwellings (Nos. 25, 32, 39, 42, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 58, 60, 62, 72, 73, 74, 75, 79, 80, 83, 91, 109, 110, 118, 124, 126, 146). The caves had usually broad irregular-shaped openings, near which remains of rock-cuttings and cupmarks sometimes occurred. Some of the caves had courtyards built of one row of fieldstones (25, 39, 48, 73, 74, 75). The ceilings of several of the caves had collapsed (50, 58, 60, 79, 80).
Rock-hewn Installations (Nos. 76, 129). The bedrock-hewn and rectangular Pit 76 (0.9 × 1.7 m; Fig. 9) was discovered filled with soil. It is possible that this was a collecting vat of a winepress. The bedrock-hewn Installation 129 (tomb?) was found covered with stone slabs (length 2 m).
Crushing Basin (Yam; No. 122). The stone was not found in situ and based on the condition of its surface, it was never used. Next to the stone were several circular rock-cuttings and it is possible that crushing basins were quarried there.
Caves were discerned along the slope of the hills, but the dense vegetation precluded their examination. In addition, numerous farming terraces and retaining walls that separated cultivation plots were recorded and surveyed, using GPS instruments. Many potsherds found on the terraces were dated to the Iron Age and the Early Roman, Late Roman and Byzantine periods. On a broad farming terrace (138), in the northern region of the surveyed area, a dense scattering of potsherds, dating to the Chalcolithic, Early Bronze Age and Hellenistic period, was discovered, as well as a large quantity of flakes and flint tools.