In January 2014, a trial excavation was conducted north of Kibbutz Sha‘ar Ha-‘Amaqim (Permit No. A-6979; map ref. 210091–255/737620–863), after ancient remains were discovered while digging a tunnel on Highway 6. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Cross-Israel Highway Company, Ltd., was directed by A.S. Sa‘id (photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan and R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), P. Gendelman (ceramics) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
Square 1. A rectangular pit (1.8 × 3.8 m, depth 2.13 m; Figs. 3, 4) was hewn in the limestone rock. A light-colored accumulation of calcareous material (L105) was found at the bottom of the pit, suggesting that it was originally used for producing lime. A plastic pipe leading to the pit indicated the latter was adapted for use as a cesspit in the modern era.
Square 2. Two small rectangular rock-cuttings (L104; Figs. 5, 6) were discovered on a bedrock surface.
Square 3. Evidence of rock-cuttings and two severance channels (L106; Fig. 7, 8) were exposed on a bedrock surface. Two bowl fragments (Fig. 9:1), dating to the fourth–fifth centuries CE, and a base of an amphora (Fig. 9:2) from the fourth–seventh centuries CE were discovered in the accumulated soil overlying the bedrock surface.
Square 4. A rock-hewn burial cave, only part of which was excavated, was discovered in the northern part of the square (see Fig. 7). It was found filled with alluvium and rocks that had detached from its ceiling. A hewn pit with two steps (L111; Fig. 10) led to the opening of the cave, which was blocked by a rectangular stone (0.49 × 0.53 m); the opening accessed a burial chamber. Although excavated only in part, it seems right to conclude that the cave consisted of a burial chamber that included a niche containing a single bench; the burial itself was not excavated. Shallow rock-cuttings in a bedrock surface that sloped to the west were revealed in the southern part of the square.
Square 5. Concentrations of various-sized fieldstones (L107; Fig. 11) were discovered in heavy clay soil, all at the same elevation. These may be the remains of walls or habitation levels that were damaged by modern cultivation. A fragment of a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 9:3), dating to the first century CE, was discovered.
Square 6. Concentrations of fieldstones of various sizes were founded on calcareous soil throughout the square (L108, L114; Figs. 11, 12). These might be the remains of walls or habitation levels that were damaged by modern cultivation.
Kirzner D. 2014a. Sha‘ar Ha-‘Amaqim (A). HA-ESI 126
Kirzner D. 2014b. Sha‘ar Ha-‘Amaqim (B). HA-ESI 126
Raban A. 1982. Map of Nahalal (28) (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.
Segal A., Mynarczyk J. and Burdajewicz M. 2014. Excavations of the Hellenistic Site in Kibbutz Sha‘ar HaAmakim (Gaba), 1984–1998: Final Report. Haifa.