During May 2008, an excavation was conducted within the precincts of Horbat Kelah (Permit No. A-5441; map ref. 19820–35/64850–55), along the route of the approach road to the cemetery in Modi‘in. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by P. Spivak, with the assistance of M. Kunin (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), N. Zak (drafting) and laborers from Ashqelon.
The excavation area was located at the top of an elongated rocky ridge and along its southern slopes, which is generally oriented east–west, next to the Modi‘in city cemetery (Fig. 1). Three architectural units were exposed: a simple rock-hewn winepress, a rectangular building and a wall built of large unworked fieldstones. Four circular cupmarks were scattered in the excavation area (average diam. 0.2–0.3 m). Flint artifacts were gathered from the surface.
F1. A winepress hewn in the limestone bedrock (Figs. 2, 3), consisting of a treading floor (2.5×3.5 m) that drained north to a round collecting vat and a square filtration pit. Two small cupmarks were visible near the collecting vat, as well as a hewn drainage channel loping gently northward. No small finds that could date the period when the winepress was used were discovered.
F2. A wall built of large unworked fieldstones, oriented east–west and preserved a single course high. No floor levels or other remains, connected to the wall, were identified.
F3. A rectangular building delimited by four walls (W1–W4), which was not excavated. A few of the walls, preserved two courses high, were built of large unworked fieldstones placed on top of the bedrock (Fig. 4). No floor levels abutting the walls of the building were identified.
No remains of an ancient settlement could be identified in the region. The diffusion of the flint tools was random and the assemblage was meager and heterogeneous. It consisted of three fully depleted flake or small blade cores, a fragment of a bifacial axe, a retouched blade that could not be dated and several dozen flakes, chips and chunks. Similar, but richer assemblages, were documented on the rocky hills in the Modi‘in region and were dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (Grossman L. and Goren-Inbar N. 2010, Evidence in the Rock – A Neolithic Quarry on Giv‘at Kaizer, Modi‘in. In Innovations in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and the Surrounding Area
. Volume 4, pp. 40–49 [Hebrew]; HA-ESI 122
The excavation did not yield any diagnostic potsherds and it is not possible to date the winepress, cupmarks, and wall and building remains. Installations such as these, which are related to the processing of agricultural produce, are very common to the Modi‘in region (HA-ESI 122