During December 2006, a survey prior to development was conducted in the apple orchard of Kibbuts Ramat Rahel (Permit No. A-4966; map ref. NIG 22052–104/62786–824; OIG 17052–104/12786–824). The survey, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was conducted by Y. Dagan and L. Barda, with the assistance of O. Barzilai and O. Marder (flint artifacts).
The survey area descends gently to the west in the direction of the Jerusalem–Bethlehem highway and it is mostly covered with an abandoned apple orchard. The soil in the area is red rendzina, in which numerous flint pebbles are mixed. It appears that mechanical equipment was used in the past to prepare the ground for an orchard and stones were cleared from the area. Seven survey sites were documented (1–7; Fig. 1). Large scatters of flint flakes that dated to the Lower Paleolithic period were documented on the surface in Sites 1, 2, 3 and 5. This is indigenous flint that was neither fluvial transported nor underwent later deposition. A fragment of a basalt bowl was collected at Site 2 and a few potsherds that dated to the end of Iron II (seventh–six centuries BCE) were gathered at Site 3. A section of flat fieldstones arranged on the ground was documented at Site 4 and may possibly represent part of the Roman road that linked Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Wall remains of farming terraces, aligned north–south, were documented at Sites 6 and 7; cypress trees are today planted on them. The remains at Site 7 were probably part of the High-Level Aqueduct to Jerusalem.