During October 2003, a development survey was conducted in Moshav Shilat (Permit No. A-4008*; map ref. NIG 202058–357/647124–423; OIG 152058–357/147124–423), prior to construction. The survey, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and sponsored by the moshav, was directed by O. Shmueli and L. Barda in an area identified and demarcated by a certified surveyor, on behalf of the moshav.
At the top of the hill, where remains of the ancient settlement of Khirbat Shilta are visible, heaps of ashlar stones, architectural elements and remains of ruinous buildings of a modern Arab village, were discerned (Fig. 1). Ashlar construction was noted beneath the clusters of stone. Potsherds from the Byzantine, Early Islamic and Mamluk periods were scattered above surface.
The area surveyed east of the ruin was characterized by limestone surfaces into which a dense array of installations was hewn, including thirteen water cisterns, two winepresses and a ritual bath (miqwe) that was built inside a plastered underground cavity. The miqwe had a hewn entrance and was equipped with a reserve pool. Other features included two quarries, a limekiln and several other underground cavities, whose nature could not be determined.
The area surveyed along the eastern and northern slopes included stone walls that delimited cultivation plots and farming terraces built of medium and large fieldstones. A field road (width 3 m), leading to the ruin on the north and enclosed by stone walls, was exposed and a burial cave (map ref. NIG 202347/747303; OIG 152347/147303) was discerned at the bottom of the slope, with two watchman’s huts nearby.