From October to December 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted at Horbat Kaduran, north of Mt. Tabor, and east of the Kaduri Agricultural School and Regional Centre (Permit No. A-8364, map ref. 23890-901/73399-447) prior to diverting Road No. 65 east of the existing road. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Alexandre and N. Feig (photography), with the assistance of S. Omer and A. Shapira (area supervisor), Y. Yaakobi and U. Lavan (administration), M. Kahan and A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), M. Peleg (photogrammetry documentation and photography) and workers from Kfar Manda, Bir el-Maksur, Shefar‘am and Sha‘ab. R. Kapul conducted trial trenches prior to the excavation.
Horbat Kaduran (c. 5 dunams) is situated on a low hill, near the eastern bank of Nahal Keshet. Two excavation areas were opened at the foot of the site (A and B; Figs. 1, 2), along the planned route of the road. The excavations revealed a burial cave, overlain by a building, both dating to the MB IIB, as well as limited building remains from the Roman period. In all the excavation squares, stone surfaces and small stone piles, yielding some Byzantine and Umayyad period sherds, were uncovered.
The site, designated Mazâr Sheikh Muhammed, was first surveyed by the Survey of Western Palestine, mainly documenting basalt stone piles (Conder and Kitchener 1881:413). In a survey conducted by N. Zori, flint tools from the Paleolithic period were retrieved, along with sherds from the Iron Age I, the Persian, Hellenistic and Early Islamic periods (Zori 1977: Site 192, Kh. Sheikh Muhammed). The Mount Tavor Survey Map documented remains of structures from the Mamluk period, also retrieving sherds from MB IIB, Iron Age II, and the Roman, Byzantine, Mamluk and Ottoman periods (Gal 1988: Site 53
). In an excavation carried out in 2013, a sealed tomb, containing numerous tools from the MB IIB, was discovered, as well as remains of an Iron Age II (eighth–seventh centuries BCE) structure, and concentrations of sherds from the Persian and Hellenistic periods (fourth–second centuries BCE; Permit No. A-6964; G. Finkielsztejn pers. comm.).
Thirty-six excavation squares were opened. In the southern part of the area, a burial cave (Stratum II) was found, above which lay the remains of a building (Stratum I), both elements dated to the MB IIB (Fig. 3). In the northern part of the area, the bedrock surface was exposed close to the surface, bearing signs of rock-cuttings, and yielding concentrations of sherds dating mainly to the MB IIB.
Stratum II. A rock-hewn burial cave, accessed from the surface via a rock-cut vertical shaft (depth c. 2 m), was uncovered (Fig. 4). To the south of the shaft floor, a square rock-hewn opening, found blocked with a rectangular stone, led into the interior of the cave. Only the front part of the cave’s floor, next to the entrance, was excavated, revealing an intact gray juglet with a double handle, dated to MB IIB.
Stratum I. Remains of a courtyard building, built directly on the bedrock, were uncovered above the burial cave. The courtyard was rectangular and delimited by stone walls; there were probably rooms around the courtyard that were not extant, or that lay beyond the excavation limits. The walls were preserved for a maximum of two courses. A stone-built installation was unearthed in the courtyard (Fig. 5), as well as a few rock-hewn installations. The inhabitants of the building were probably aware of the cave, as they filled in the access shaft with soil and rocks. Storage jars discovered in situ around the building, all dated to the MB IIB.
Fourteen squares were excavated, yielding thin soil layers with stones mixed with sherds, mostly dating to MB IIB, with only a few dating to the Roman period. In the two westernmost squares, fragmentary remains of walls, and a patch of flooring made of small fieldstones were unearthed. On the floor, a few storage jar and cooking vessel sherds were found, dating to the Roman period.
Conder C.R. and Kitchener H.H. 1881. The Survey of Western Palestine I: Galilee. London.
Zori N. 1997. Nahalat Yissachar. Jerusalem (Hebrew).