Four areas (A–D; Fig. 1) were opened on the northern slope of the hill and sixty-five sites (1–65) were examined; protected vegetation was growing in several sites, which therefore could not be examined. The antiquities included six tombs and rock-hewn burial caves (14, 16, 21, 45, 46, 62), six limestone quarries (4, 12/13, 14, 19, 50, 56), three natural caves (8, 15, 44) and twenty-seven rock-cuttings. Four trial squares were also excavated yielding extremely meager finds.
Tomb and Quarry 14. A stone quarry with three quarrying steps was exposed. Signs of rock-cutting and separating channels of stones (0.30×0.58×1.20 m) were evident alongside stones that had not been detached from the bedrock. In the lower part of the quarry’s southwestern corner, a square opening (1.0×1.1 m; Fig. 2) that led to a rectangular corridor (length 1.6 m, width 1.3 m) was exposed; it led from there to an underground cavity that was blocked with earth and stones. The excavation in this cavity was halted at the behest of a representative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Pottery dating to the second–third centuries CE was discovered in the soil fill removed from the opening and the corridor.
Tomb 16 (Fig. 3). A rock-hewn burial cave with a rectangular courtyard (L330; 2.5×3.0 m) and a burial chamber (L331; 2.2×2.9 m) was exposed. A staircase descended to the courtyard. A hewn entrance leading to the cave was in the southern side of the courtyard; it was discovered sealed with a roll-stone (diam. 0.75 m). Recessed slots designed for the placing of the roll-stone were hewn in the bedrock on either side of the opening. A fragment of a casserole from the Roman period (Fig. 4:11) was discovered in the courtyard. One step led from the opening down into the burial chamber, where three burial benches (L334–L336; 1.3–1.4×1.8–2.1 m, height 0.90–1.15 m) and two pits used as bone repositories (L332, L334; 0.6×0.6 m), were hewn. The three burial benches were hewn c. 0.7 m above the bottom of the burial chamber (Fig. 5). Disintegrated human bones were discovered scattered in the burial chamber and on the benches. An examination of the bones revealed that the deceased were placed on the burial benches without being covered with soil. The bones from the cave represented at least five individuals; a child 5–10 years of age, an adolescent 15–20 years of age, two males older than 20 years of age and older than 30 years of age and a female older than 40 years of age were identified. A scant amount of potsherds from the Roman period was discovered in the excavation of the cave. These included only fragments of baggy-shaped jars (Fig. 4:18) dating from the mid-second to the fourth centuries CE. A few fragments of glass vessels from the Roman period (see below) were also discovered. The paucity of finds in the cave indicates it was plundered in the past.
The burial custom of placing the deceased on three burial benches without covering them with soil is characteristic of the Israelite population in the mountainous region in the Iron Age and it also continued into the Persian period in this region. This form of burial, as well as the adjacent burial cave dating from the Late Iron Age and Early Persian period (Tomb 46, below) seem to indicate that the use of the cave in the Roman period, as alluded to by the ceramic finds, was a secondary use and the cave was originally hewn at an earlier time.
Tomb 21. Four hewn steps that led to a small courtyard (1.60×1.65 m; Fig. 6) in the front of a cave were exposed. The cave opening was partially exposed. A fragment of a baggy-shaped jar dating to the Early Roman period (first–second centuries CE; Fig. 4:16) was recovered from the excavation. The excavation was suspended at the behest of a representative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Tomb 45 (Fig. 7). A rock-hewn cave whose upper part and a portion of its western side were removed during development work. A corridor (L111; length 1.8 m, width 0.8 m) with an opening hewn in its northern side led to the cave. A slot meant for a roll-stone was cut in the western side of the opening; the roll-stone (diam. 1.1 m) was discovered in situ. Two steps descended from the opening to the burial chamber (L116; 2.25×2.30 m; Fig. 8), in whose sides were six rock-cut loculi (L112–L115, L117, L118), five of which were of similar dimensions (c. 0.6×1.7 m) and one (L115) was smaller. Scattered human bones were discovered in the loculi, representing at least eleven individuals, i.e., two infants, a child and adults, spanning a wide range of ages. At least three females were identified among the adult individuals. Stone collapse from the ceiling, overlain with a thick layer of alluvium, was discovered in the cave. A circular rock-cutting (L110; diam. 1.1 m, depth 0.4 m) whose dimensions were similar to those of the roll-stone found in the cave, was discovered west of the cave; it therefore seems that this was the place where the stone had been quarried.
The finds recovered from the excavation included a small intact cooking pot (Fig. 4:13) that was discovered on the floor of the burial chamber and dates from the end of the first century BCE to the second century CE, a fragment of a globular cooking pot (Fig. 4:12) dating to the second–fourth century CE, a fragment of a baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 4:17) from the second half of the second century CE, an intact mold-made disc lamp (Fig. 4:21) that was discovered in the cave opening and dates from the end of the first century to the first half of the second century CE, a fragment of a similar lamp that was discovered in the central chamber (Fig. 4:22) and four glass candlestick-like bottles (Fig. 9:1, 2, 4, 5; see below), three of them were recovered from the loculi, dating from the end of the first century to the mid-third century CE. It seems that the cave was plundered in antiquity, close to the time of the burial, and since then it has remained blocked by the roll-stone.
Tomb 46 (Fig. 10). A circular tomb (diam. 3.6 m) whose ceiling was removed during development work. The northern part of the tomb was excavated down to floor level and soil fill mixed with fragments of pottery vessels that dated to the end of Iron Age II and the beginning of the Persian period (eighth–sixth centuries CE) was discovered, including a bowl (Fig. 4:3), a mortarium (Fig. 4:4), a cooking pot (Fig. 4:5), a jar base (Fig. 4:6), jar rims (Fig. 4:7–9) and a fragment of a pinched lamp (Fig. 4:10). Work in the tomb was suspended after remains of human bones were discovered.
Tomb 62 (Fig. 11). A hewn courtyard (1.9×2.0 m) that led to the entrance chamber of a burial cave (1.85×2.50 m, height 1.56 m) was exposed. Remains of gray plaster were discovered on the sides of the chamber. A rectangular pit filled with soil (0.8×1.6 m; not excavated), which might be an entrance corridor leading to the cave opening, was exposed in the center of the chamber. The soil fill excavated in the entrance chamber yielded a jar fragment from the Early Roman period (Fig. 4:14; first–second centuries CE). Work was suspended at the behest of a representative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Quarry 4 (13×19 m). Five broad quarrying steps were exposed where the hard bedrock had been fully exploited; the steps were abandoned after the quarrymen reached soft bedrock. Signs of rock-cuttings and separating channels of stones (stone dimensions 0.32×0.48×0.78 m) were discerned, as well as several stones that were not detached from the bedrock. The quarry was covered with earth, which yielded a fragment of a baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 4:15) and jug fragments (Fig. 4:19, 20) dating to the Roman period (first–third centuries CE).
Quarry 12/13 (5×11 m; Fig. 12). Part of a shallow quarry with two quarrying steps was exposed. Signs of rock-cuttings and separating channels (stone dimensions: 0.3×0.5×1.1 m, 0.3×0.3×0.8 m) were discerned, as well as stones that had not been completely hewn.
Quarry 19. An elongated stone quarry (c. 2.5×9.0 m), having a single quarrying step. Signs of stone quarrying (stone dimensions: 0.75×1.10 m) were discerned. Relatively large stones were hewn in the quarry and no rock-cutting debris was discovered in its area; therefore, the final trimming of the stones was presumably done elsewhere.
Quarry 50. Two quarrying steps were exposed in a bedrock outcrop (15×17 m). Beneath them was a kind of square courtyard and another rock-cutting that extended a distance of 10 m in the outcrop. The bedrock outcrop was covered with soil that contained body fragments of ribbed pottery vessels dating from the second–third centuries CE.
Quarry 56. Two quarrying steps (1.3×10.0 m) were exposed; signs of rock-cuttings and separating channels of large stones that had been removed (stone dimensions: 0.8×1.4 m) were discerned. It seems that the final dressing of the stones was done elsewhere. Some of the stones were not completely detached. The quarry was covered with soil that contained body fragments of ribbed pottery vessels from the second–third centuries CE.
Cave 8. A broad opening (0.95×2.90 m) of a natural cave was discovered in front of a bedrock step. The opening was blocked with earth and small stones. The excavation was halted at the insistence of the ultra-orthodox factions that feared this was a burial cave.
Cave 15. A natural cave (0.9×1.8 m) blocked by alluvium. A rectangular depression, perhaps the beginning of a rock-cutting for a burial cell, was exposed at the bottom of the cave. Non-diagnostic ribbed potsherds were discovered in the cave.
Cave 44. A large natural burial cave (11×16 m; Fig. 13) partially obstructed by blocks of bedrock that had collapsed from the ceiling and modern spill and debris. The excavation inside the cave yielded several fragments of pottery vessels, including that of a bowl from the Ottoman period (Fig. 4:23).
Quarries. Twenty-seven quarries and rock-cuttings were discovered; fifteen were small (max. size 2×2 m; 10, 11, 17, 18, 24–26, 29, 31, 33, 34, 38, 39, 42, 43), eight medium (max. size 4×4 m; 1, 9, 23, 30, 35, 37, 57, 58) and four large (in excess of 4×4 m; 30, 40, 59, 60). Shallow rock-cuttings were observed at most of the sites, save Site 30, where the quarrying reached a depth of 0.45 m. The accumulations in the rock-cuttings yielded a small quantity of mostly worn potsherds from the Roman period.
Trial Squares. Four probes (1–4; 4×4 m) were excavated. The bedrock was discovered at a depth of 1 m below the surface level in three of them (1–3), without ancient remains. The probes yielded a few fragments of pottery vessels, most of which were non-diagnostic. The ceramic finds from Probe 2 included a fragment of a jug (Fig. 4:24) from the Ottoman period. Large bedrock collapse was exposed in Probe 4, located at the bottom of the slope. The fragments of pottery vessels discovered in Probe 4, included fragments of an amphoriskos (Fig. 4:1) and of a jug (Fig. 4:2) from Middle Bronze I.
The Glass Vessels
The excavation yielded glass vessels from two burial caves (Fig. 9). The vessels in Fig. 9:1, 4, 5 were discovered in the loculi of Cave 45 (Loci 112, 117 and 118) and the vessel in Fig. 9:2 —in its central pit (L116). Fragments of a bottle (not illustrated) were collected in a hewn depression (L110) outside Cave 45, while the vessels in Fig. 9:3, 6 were recovered from the central pit in Cave 16 (L331).
The glass finds include three complete and eight incomplete glass vessels, consisting of bottles and a juglet, as well as a unique vessel, the likes of which has not yet been published from a legitimate excavation. All vessels were free-blown of light blue glass, except for the one in Fig. 9:6 that was mold-blown of purple glass. The group as a whole may be dated from the late first and the second centuries CE.
Three of the pieces (Fig. 9:1–3), with their characteristic flaring, unevenly-infolded rim and thin-walled cylindrical neck, belong to candlestick-type bottles, which were widespread throughout the Roman Empire and are common finds in burial contexts of the late first to mid-third centuries CE throughout the country. The tiny bottle (Fig. 9:4) has a wide, flaring, unevenly-infolded rim, a wide neck, a squat body and a flat thick-walled bottom. It may be associated with the candlestick-type bottles and dated to the same period.
Tiny bottles of this type are known from northern and central Israel; they were discovered in burials, together with a variety of candlestick-type bottles, e.g., in the neighboring Mishmarot cemetery (HA-ESI 119, Figs. 14–16).
The juglet (Fig. 9:5), probably globular, has a thick, unevenly infolded rim, and a ribbed strap handle, forming a right angle and bifurcated where it joins the shoulder. This type of juglet was widespread in the Roman Empire during the late first and second centuries CE. A complete globular juglet with a similar handle was discovered at Kafr Yamma in Cave B, dating from the first and second centuries CE (HA-ESI 110:36*–37*, Fig 70:5).
The small, purple, mold-blown bottle (Fig. 9:6) is decorated with a shallow pattern of round bulges on one side and several vertical ridges on the other. In its dimensions and modeling this bottle resembles the date-shaped vessels, associated with the Sidonian ware, manufactured from the mid-first to the second centuries CE. Yet, the bottle from Regavim is adorned with a pattern of round knobs, possibly meant to represent a cluster of grapes. No analogous examples have been recovered so far from excavations in the region. However, a purple bottle, similarly modeled and decorated, is kept in the Oppenländer collection; it was attributed to the first century CE and its provenance was possibly Syria (von Saldern A., Nolte B., La Baume P. and Haevernick T.E. 1974. Gläser der antike: Sammlung Erwin Oppenländer. Hamburg. Pp. 150, 154, No. 433).
Numerous quarries, as well as part of a cemetery dating to the Late Iron Age–Early Persian period and the Roman period, were discovered in the excavation. The cemetery and quarries probably served the nearby sites of Khallat el-Masri to the west and Horbat Kayal West southeast of the excavation, and possibly also the Horbat Bareqet site, located c. 3 km east of the excavation (‘Atiqot 55:86, 103). Cave 45 is a cave characteristic of the Jerusalem area, having a chamber with loculi, a common phenomenon in cemeteries of the late Second Temple period in Jerusalem. Cave 16, on the other hand, is characteristic of the Judean region, having a square chamber and a standing pit in its center surrounded by burial benches (‘Atiqot 58:35). Primary and secondary burials were conducted in this cave and it might have been used by a Jewish population. It seems that Tomb 46 is a field tomb that was used for a private burial in the Late Iron Age–Early Persian period. The quarries might have supplied stones for the pavement and maintenance of the Roman road that passed north of the site (the Caesarea-Legio road; HA-ESI 118). Similar quarries were discovered c. 500 m west of the site at Giv‘at ‘Ada (HA-ESI 120). Based on the ceramic finds recovered from the excavation, it seems that activity also occurred in the region during the Middle Bronze Age and the Ottoman period.