In May 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel (Permit No. A-7131; map ref. 220516–22/627632–7), prior to expansion of the residential area. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Kibbutz Ramat Rahel, was directed by R. Forestani, with the assistance of N. Nahama (administration), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (photography) and N. Zak (drafting).
The excavation (c. 50 sq m) was conducted on the northern slope of the hill on which the kibbutz is situated, c. 150 m from the Iron Age palace exposed by Y. Aharoni in the 1960s. Other parts of the palace and a magnificent garden compound with sophisticated water installations were exposed in excavations carried out at the site in 2005–2010 (Lipschits et al. 2006
; 2011). In excavations at the site in 2000–2002, five settlement strata were exposed; they date from the Iron Age to the Early Islamic period (Solimany and Barzel 2008).
In the current excavation, the remains of a modern building were uncovered, as well as a cistern, a channel, installations and a small quarry, none of which could be dated (Fig. 1).
Remains of a rectangular room (L3; 2.5 × 4.0 m; Fig 2) whose walls were covered with a thin layer of light colored plaster were exposed in the northern part of the excavation area. The floor in the room was paved with modern stone tiles. A niche was installed in the room’s southern wall. A rock-hewn cistern (L7; diam. 4 m, diam. of opening 0.9 m; Figs. 3, 4) was revealed c. 4 m south of the building; it was not excavated. The western part of the cistern had been destroyed by development work done at the site. The cistern was treated with a thick layer of gray plaster mixed with small stone inclusions. A rock-hewn channel (L6; length 5 m, width 0.35 m, max. depth 0.5 m; Fig. 5), which apparently conveyed run-off to the cistern, was exposed nearby to the south. A round rock-cut installation (L4; diam. 0.5 m, depth 0.3 m; Fig. 5) was exposed just north of the channel; only its northern part was preserved. A square rock-cutting (L8; 0.75 × 0.90 m, depth 0.2 m; Fig. 6), probably an installation as well, was revealed c. 3 m east of the aforementioned installation. A small rectangular quarry (L5; 1.10 × 1.56 m, depth c. 0.26 m; Fig. 6) was exposed to the north of this rock-cutting.
Lipschits O., Oeming M., Gadot Y., Arubas B. and Cinamon G. 2006. Ramat Rahel – 2005. HA-ESI 118.
Lipschits O., Gadot Y., Arubas B. and Oeming M. 2011. Palace and Village, Paradise and Oblivion: Unraveling the Riddles of Ramat Rahel. NEA 74:2–48.
Solimany G. and Barzel V. 2008. Ramat Rahel. HA-ESI 120.