During July 2009, a survey was conducted north of the Yodefat antiquities site and east of Khirbat Shifat (Khirbat Jifat; License No. S-134/2009; map ref. 22606–50/74869–948), prior to paving a road. The survey, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was performed by R. Abu Raya, with the assistance of E. Stern (surveyor) and A. Shapiro (GPS).
A long strip (c. 1.3 km, width 50 m; Fig. 1) was surveyed on both sides of the planned road. Most of the area is covered with thorny garrigue vegetation. The ground is rocky with numerous terraces that are mostly ancient and built of indigenous fieldstones. Five sites (1–5) that included cisterns, architectural remains and an ancient road were identified. The sites are described from south to north.
Site 1 (map ref. 226348/748861) is a bell-shaped cistern hewn in hard limestone. Its circular opening (diam. c. 1 m; Fig. 2) is partly covered with especially large stones (up to 0.30 × 0.35 × 1.30 m) that formed a smaller rectangular opening (c. 0.4 × 0.9 m).
Site 2 (map ref. 226371/748856) is a square building (c. 9 × 10 m), built of one course of ashlars and roughly hewn stones (width c. 0.8 m, height up to c. 0.6 m). The northern wall (Fig. 3) was built of large stones, identical to the covering stones of the cistern in Site 1, which, in all likelihood were robbed from the building.
A pit or cave whose ceiling was destroyed (diam. c. 5 m) is located near the northeastern corner of the building.
Site 3 (map ref. 226368–464/748910–9) is a section of an ancient road, oriented east–west (length c. 150 m, inner width c. 2 m, outer width c. 4 m; Fig. 4), which led to the settlement of Kh. Shifat, c. 0.2 km north of Tel Yodefat.
Site 4 (map ref. 226280/749234) is a small corner hewn in the bedrock.
Site 5 (map ref. 226242/749271) consists of tumulus or limekiln remains (diam. c. 4 m) that was mostly destroyed, probably during the forestation of the area.
It turns out that the region between the ancient villages was an uninhabited area, used for subsistence by the villages’ residents. They quarried cisterns that were probably used to water livestock and were engaged in agriculture, as indicated by the farming terraces. Similar remains were discovered in a survey conducted in the east, at the foot of Har Ha-Sha’avi (HA-ESI 122).