A complex that extends across 40 dunam at the northern bend of a hill that descends to a tributary of Nahal Natuf. The area is mostly rocky with small plots of terra rosa soil between the rocky surfaces.
(1) Winepress (map ref. NIG 197125/651958; OIG 147125/151958).
Two phases were discerned in the winepress. In the first phase, bedrock surface served as a basin for the collection of run-off that was conveyed via hewn channels to a large water cistern. In the second phase, one of the drainage channels was canceled and a simple winepress was hewn on bedrock surface. The winepress had a treading floor (2.9 × 3 .2 m, height 0.3 m) that sloped toward a settling vat (0.70 × 0.75 m, depth 0.7 m) whose upper part was connected to a larger collecting vat (1.25 × 1.35 m, depth 1.15–1.25 m). The bottom of the collecting vat was coated with white plaster that did not survive on the walls. A few non-diagnostic potsherds were found.
(2) Stone Clearance Heap (diam. 10.8 m, height 0.7 m; map ref. NIG 197150/651930; OIG 147150/151930).
A probe trench was excavated down to bedrock level in the southwestern quarter of the heap, revealing potsherds, mostly Byzantine. However, at a depth of 0.5 m below surface eleven modern coins dating to the years 1970–1974 were found. It therefore seems that the stone clearance heap is not ancient, but rather piled by soldiers who trained in the area.
(3) Quarry (map ref. NIG 197134/651852; OIG 147134/151852).
Two trial squares were opened next to the quarrying marks visible on surface.
3A – A wall (length 6.7 m, width 0.5–0.7 m, height 1.0–1.2 m) that extended through the area of quarries was exposed at a depth of 0.2 m below surface. Two layers of earth mixed with stones and potsherds were visible south of the wall. The lower layer that overlaid bedrock contained potsherds dating solely to the Hellenistic period. The potsherds from the upper layer were only from the Byzantine period.
North of the wall was a level of flat stones above a fill that contained masonry stones, which had apparently been discarded at the time they were quarried, mixed with stone chips and other rock-cutting debris.
3B – A quarry section (4 × 4 m). The method used to extract the stones and the severance channels hewn between them were clearly apparent. The quarry was not completely exposed.
(4) Water Cistern (map ref. NIG 197165/651840; OIG 147165/151840).
The upper part of a hewn water cistern (diam. 1 m, depth 1.5 m) was discovered while digging a trial trench with a backhoe. A low wall (0.30 × 3.5 m, height 0.3 m) around the cistern’s opening was meant to convey the run-off into the cistern, which was apparently located in the courtyard of a Byzantine building that was excavated 10 m away (No. 5).
(5) A Byzantine Building (map ref. NIG 197175/651841; OIG 147175/151841).
Three phases of the building were exposed in three adjacent squares (4 × 4 m).
Phase 3, the original structure. It was a courtyard building in which a central courtyard and a row of rooms to the east were exposed; two of the rooms were partially excavated. The walls were built of dressed stones set on bedrock surface and preserved a single course high. The floors were paved with small fieldstones. The main entrance to the central courtyard (4.0 × 5.5 m) was in the northern wall. A row of rooms probably existed on the western side of the courtyard but was severely damaged by later construction of the complex’s second phase.
Phase 2, the later building. A room (2.0 × 4.5 m) oriented north–south, was exposed. The walls were built of dressed stones, preserved two courses high. A tabun was set in a floor of crushed and tamped lime that abutted the walls. The entrance was set in the eastern wall whose northern side had a thick layer of plaster preserved to the level of the floor. A dressed-stone surface, exposed east of the room, was probably a floor.
Phase 1, modern refuse pit. This later disturbance in the southern part of the area contained rifle cartridges, cloth, and plastic.
The building, probably a farmhouse that belonged to the agricultural hinterland of nearby Horbat Hermeshit, had two distinct architectural phases, as well as material finds that attested to two periods. The potsherds collected above the floors of the two phases dated to the sixth–seventh centuries CE, whereas the coins mostly dated to the fourth century CE. The chronological gap between the ceramic artifacts and the numismatic finds can be explained in two ways: either the coins remained in circulation until the time of the pottery finds or the numismatic finds testify to the existence of an earlier building that was not exposed.
The complex extends across c. 160 dunams, rocky in the northern part and planted with eucalyptus trees in the south, beyond the northern bank of Nahal Natuf. Agricultural installations, mostly concentrated on the southern slope, were found.
Site 1 – Tomb (map ref. NIG 196938/652448; OIG 146938/152448).
It is hewn on a leveled bedrock surface. A low rectangular rock-cutting (1.1 × 2.1 m, height 0.03 m) surrounded the opening and served as a base for the covering slabs that closed the tomb. On either side of the standing pit (0.6 × 1.7 m, max. depth 1.6 m) in the center of the tomb were hewn arcosolia (length 1.7 m, width 0.55 m, height 1.35 m), in whose floors burial troughs (northern––depth 0.55 m; southern––depth 0.6 m) were cut. A ‘pillow’ (height 0.15 m) for the deceased was carved on the western side, at the bottom of the northern trough. The tomb had been plundered in the past and no artifacts were discovered, save a few non-diagnostic potsherds and the remains of non-articulated human bones, which were turned over to a representative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Site 10 – Tomb (map ref. NIG 196842/652336; OIG 146842/152336).
It is hewn on a straight bedrock surface. Its rectangular opening (0.7 × 1.6 m, depth 1.1 m before excavation) was surrounded by a shallow hewn rectangular rock-cutting (1.2 × 2.0 m, height 0.03 m) that served as a base for the covering slabs that sealed the tomb, which was not excavated due to objections of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Site 4 – Quarry (map ref. NIG 196889/652397; OIG 146889/152397).
Several square stones (1.15 × 1.50 m) were extracted from a bedrock outcrop. The method of quarrying was clearly apparent and the negatives of severance channels between the stones were visible. A cupmark (diam. 0.2 m, depth 0.15 m) was excavated next to the quarried area.
Area 23 – Rock-cutting (map ref. NIG 196959/652564; OIG 146959/152564).
The beginning of hewn severance channels for the purpose of extracting a square stone (width 0.6 m).
Site 6 – Water Cistern (map ref. NIG 196872/652355; OIG 146872/152355).
A cistern (diam. 0.9 m, depth before excavation 3.5 m) in the middle of an exposed bedrock surface whose walls were coated with several layers of plaster. A rock-hewn trough (0.35 × 0.60 m) to the west of the cistern, probably intended for watering sheep and goats, was cleaned.
Site 15 – Water Cistern (map ref. NIG 196695/652408; OIG 146695/152408).
This large cistern (diam. 1.65 m, depth 4.7 m), coated with several layers of plaster, was not excavated.
Site 8 – Terrace (map ref. NIG 196866/652288; OIG 146866/152288).
A terrace wall (length 5 m, width 0.5 m) built parallel to the slope.
Site 14 – Stone Clearance Heap and Wall (map ref. NIG 196691/652394; OIG 146691/152394).
A probe trench cut in the clearance heap revealed a well-built wall (length 15.9 m, width 0.6 m) of dry construction, preserved two courses high. The bottom course comprised large stones (0.5 × 0.7 m) and the upper consisted of medium-sized stones (0.3 × 0.4 m). The ceramic finds indicate that the wall may be part of a structure dating to the Early Bronze Age.
Site 17 – Terrace (map ref. NIG 196834/ 652354; OIG 146834/152354).
A terrace wall (length 5.9 m, width 0.6 m) built to a height of three courses, which was a remain for a wide terrace system that extended across the entire surface of the slope. The wall was documented without excavation.
Site 18 – Dam (map ref. NIG 196906/652313; OIG 146906/152313).
A stone wall (length 4.3 m, width 0.65 m) build perpendicular to a small channel descending the hill. It was probably used to divert water for the cultivation plots dispersed throughout the area.
Site 5 – Stone Clearance Heap (diam. 11 m, height 0.7 m; map ref. NIG 196888/652371; OIG 146888/152371).
A trial trench excavated down to bedrock in the northwestern quarter of the heap revealed fragments of pottery vessels that dated mostly to the Byzantine period. The stone clearance was heaped on an exposed bedrock terrace to avoid wasting valuable farmland.
Site 7 – Stone Clearance Heap (diam. 9 m, height 0.8 m; map ref. NIG 196877/652305; OIG 146877/152305).
A probe section in the heap did not yield any datable finds.
Site 9 – Stone Clearance Heap (map ref. NIG 196862/652328; OIG 146862/152328).
Stone clearance (diam. 9.7 m) was deposited on top of a bedrock surface that sloped to the south. Non-diagnostic potsherds recovered from the probe trench are of no significance in dating the heap.
Site 20 – Stone Clearance Heap (map ref. NIG 196990/652560; OIG 146990/152560).
A trial trench excavated in this heap (diam. 7 m, height 0.8 m) revealed five large stones (0.5 × 0.7 m) that served as a retaining wall.
Site 21 – Stone Clearance Heap (map ref. NIG 197022/652558; OIG 147022/152558).
A trial trench cut in the clearance heap (diam. 8 m, height 0.8 m) ascertained that the stones were deposited on an exposed bedrock surface so as not to occupy worthy farmland.
Site 25 – Stone Clearance Heap (map ref. NIG 196930/652502; OIG 146930/152502).
The trial trench cut into the clearance heap (diam. 8 m, height 0.6 m) yielded no datable finds and revealed a low wall (height 0.3 m) that delimited the heap.
Site 22 – Terrace (map ref. NIG 196958/652578; OIG 146958/152578).
A wall built of very large stones (0.7 × 1.2 m), some are standing and others are lying on their side. Based on the difference in distance and the absence of a continuous line between the stones it seems that this was not a farming terrace, but rather a line that delimited two cultivation plots.
Site 26 – Terrace (map ref. NIG 196928/652539; OIG 146928/152539).
A wall built of standing stones with large spaces between them (length 5 m, width 0.4 m), which probably separated between two cultivation plots.
Site 2 – Winepress (map ref. NIG 196843/652471; OIG 146843/152471).
An entire wine production complex, which consisted of an initial storage surface, a treading floor, a collecting vat and another extraction vat, was exposed. The main feature was a rectangular treading floor (2.45 × 3.10 m) hewn in bedrock surface that sloped to the north. The liquid from the deep floor (depth 0.65 m) would drain into a round, partially plastered, collecting vat (diam. 1.31 m, depth 1.85 m). Two steps hewn in its western wall facilitated the descent into the vat. A settling pit (diam. 0.3 m, deep 0.2 m) at the bottom of the vat drained the must that collected there. A shallow round depression (diam. 0.9 m, depth 0.2 m) to the east of the collecting vat was probably used in a process of extracting additional juice from the pressed grapes. Some 4 m west of the treading floor was another rock-cutting (1.6 × 1.9 m, depth 0.4 m) that apparently served for the preliminary storage of grapes prior to treading.
Site 11 – Cupmark (map ref. NIG 196825/652399; OIG 146825/152399).
The cupmark (diam. 0.5 m, depth 0.4 m), hewn in the middle of a bedrock surface, was probably used in the process of winemaking.
Site 13 – Surface with Hewn Cupmarks (map ref. NIG 196888/652371; OIG 146888/152371).
The bedrock surface extended across three terraces on the southern slope of the hill. At least one large cupmark (diam. 0.5 m, depth 0.6 m) was on each terrace, with several smaller cupmarks (diam. 0.2 m, depth 0.1 m) around it, within a 2 m radius. This was probably an industrial installation used for extracting liquids.
Site 12 – Field Tower (map ref. NIG 196810/652412; OIG 146810/152412).
The field tower was covered with a stone clearance heap (diam. 9 m, height 1.2 m) and enclosed within low stone walls on three sides. Its northeastern corner was excavated. The eastern wall, visible on surface for a distance of 8.4 m, was exposed to a height of 0.7 m and a width of 0.4 m. The northern wall could be seen for a distance of 2.3 m and was exposed to a height of 0.85 m and a width of 0.4 m. The fill visible in the section consisted of small stones, which were collected from a stone clearance heap in the adjacent farm plot.