During June 2007, a trial excavation was conducted at Qibbuz Mazzuva (Permit No. A-5158; map ref. 215239–52/774048–63), after rock-cuttings were discovered during development work. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Shadman, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), T. Meltsen and R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting) and D. Syon (field photography).
Two rock-cuttings, 2 m apart, which were located on a rocky hill in the vicinity of a natural thicket, were discovered (Fig. 1). The rock-cuttings were hewn, perhaps accidentally, above a natural cave. The western rock-cutting was a square shaft (L100; 1.8×1.8 m, depth c. 2 m) that opened into the chamber of the natural cave below it. The shaft may have been intended as part of an installation, possibly a collecting vat of a winepress, but was ultimately never used. The eastern rock-cutting (L102; 1.5×2.8 m, depth c. 1.5 m) was a rectangular pit, accessed via three steps (L103) hewn in its western side. The rock-cutting was never completed and signs of further quarrying were evident in its eastern side. It could be the beginning of a tomb and the rock-cutting in the eastern side was the initial phase of a loculus. Based on the potsherds collected in the vicinity the site, it may be dated to the Late Roman or Byzantine periods.