During May 2009, an archaeological survey was conducted from Moshav Nes-Harim to the local council of Zur Hadassah (License No. S-102/2009; map ref. 20485–790/62585–800), prior to the construction of a new sewage pipeline. The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Tahal Group, was performed by D. Storchan, with the assistance of P. Bezer (survey), D. Levi (GPS) and A. Nagorsky (District Archaeologist).
The surveyed region extends along existing dirt paths and parts of the Israel National Trail. The area had been surveyed in the past as part of Archeological Survey of Israel (D. Weiss, B. Zissu and G. Solimany. 2004. Map of Nes Harim ). Fourteen sites, including stone quarries, rock-cut installations, terrace walls, a burial cave and a limekiln, as well as a sheik's tomb and a ruin, were recorded in the survey (Fig. 1).
Prior to the survey, construction activities near Moshav Nes Harim completely damaged a possible habitation cave (Site 3), in which no ancient remains were discerned.
Agricultural terraces walls (Sites 6, 7, 10, 11 and 12). The walls, built of small and medium-sized fieldstones, were oriented east–west.
A stone quarry (Sites 1, 2; Fig. 2) was identified in the area, west of the new expansion of Moshav Nes Harim. Multiple rectangular rock-cuttings were discerned in the limestone bedrock of the quarry as a result of extracting presumably rectangular masonry stones. The size of the quarry could not be determined due to the amount of vegetation and soil that covered the area. Additional rectangular rock-cuttings were noticed in Sites 4 and 9, which may have been parts of rock-cut installations. At Site 4, the rock-cutting signs (0.4×1.8 m) formed a corner on the limestone bedrock outcrop. Little can be inferred, without excavation, as to the nature and purpose of these carvings.
A burial Cave (Site 5; Fig. 3) was located to the north of Sites 1 and 2. The cave consisted of two chambers. The main chamber and the entrance of the cave (width 3.2 m) showed signs of collapse and little of the original entrance was preserved. A deep oval niche was carved on the western side of the main chamber, to whose south was a jumble of collapsed large boulders that blocked the entrance to the back chamber of the cave.
Part of the proposed sewage pipeline, along a section of the Israel National Trail, cuts through Kh. el Hubein (Site 14) that had previously been documented (Map of Nes Harim , Site 107). According to the map survey, the site is spread over 4 dunams and includes a sheikh's tomb (Sheikh Ahmad el Hubani; Site 13; Fig. 4), habitation caves, buildings, terrace walls and water cisterns.
A limekiln (Site 8) was located alongside a dirt path (Fig. 5). The circular limekiln (diam. 7.8 m, depth 2 m) was partially hewn into the natural bedrock and its superstructure was built of medium-sized fieldstones, preserved only two courses high.
Although the survey was limited in scope, it seems that the sites recorded in this region represent the peripheral zones of larger habitation sites.