In April 2018, an excavation was conducted at the site of Hoaha‘ya (North; Permit No. A-8280; map ref. 227356–701/742242–3111), prior to the opening of the Sanhedrin Trail. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by N. Feig, with the assistance of M. Peleg and E. Armon-Imbar (field photography) and school students, as part of the IAA community-outreach program.
The site of Hoaha‘ya (North) is located in the fields belonging to the villages in the regional council of el-Batuf, south of the ruins of Ruma (Horbat Ruma). The area is characterized by numerous quarries, most of them for building stones, as well as some installations—winepresses and shallow pits. About 20 quarries and rock-cuttings were located at the site, and about ten of them were excavated. One quarry is especially large (7 × 15 m; Fig. 1), comprising five steps (Fig. 2). Stone negatives of three sizes (0.60 × 0.75 m, 0.75 × 0.90 m, 1.0 × 1.2 m) could be clearly discerned, and detachment channels and stones that were left undetached were unearthed. The remaining quarries are small (max. length 2.3 m; Fig. 3), exhibiting stone negatives and detachment channels. Also unearthed was a smoothed surface (2.2 × 3.0 m) and a hewn depression, possibly a settling pit, 0.2 m from the surface—possibly the remains of a winepress. The pottery from all the excavation areas included body fragments, especially of Late Roman and Byzantine jars.