During July 2005, an archaeological survey was conducted in the upper Nahal Soreq channel (Permit No. A-4536; map ref. NIG 2190–8/63614; OIG 1690–8/13614), along the planned route of the separation fence, northeast of the Ramot Alon neighborhood in Jerusalem. The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by Y. Dagan and L. Barda (GPS).
A strip of ground (length 6 km, width 200 m) was surveyed, alongside which six sites with ancient remains were identified and documented (Fig. 1). These included remains of a large site and an extensive system of farming terraces on both sides of the stream channel, which attest to intensive cultivation of these plots over the course of hundreds of years.
Site 1 (map ref. 21985/63619). A modern retaining wall of a farming terrace (height 1.6–2.3 m; Fig. 2), built of small fieldstones.
Site 2 (map ref. 21980/63627). Remains of a circular watchman’s hut (?; diam. 4.3 m), built of medium-sized fieldstones (length 0.4–0.7 m).
Site 3 (map ref. 21975/63633). A system of farming terraces, planted with olive trees today. The terraces belong to a large agricultural complex that extended across both sides of the stream (Fig. 3). Ancient construction, particularly in the lower courses, was identified on some of the farming terraces.
Site 4 (map ref. 21918/63669). A farming terrace; continuation of Site 3.
Site 5 (map ref. 21913/63675). Remains of an elliptical animal pen (4 × 6 m), which was built next to the retaining wall of a farming terrace. The bottom courses of the pen’s walls comprised ancient dressed stones.
Site 6 (map ref. 21903/63685). Settlement remains (c. 10 dunams) across both sides of the stream. Dressed building stones and fragments of pottery vessels, dating to Iron II B-C and the Persian, Roman and Byzantine periods, were scattered across surface. Structures that incorporated large ashlar stones (0.55 × 0.95 m) in their walls were built over the ancient settlement remains in later periods. Ancient walls were sometimes utilized in the construction of farming terraces (Fig. 4). This agricultural system, which extended across some 20 dunams around the ancient settlement, is used today for orchards and olive groves (Fig. 5).