Area A was located at the western end of the site, at the convergence of the ancient stream channel of Nahal Har’el and the eroded soil that originated from the slopes of the hill to the south. A geomorphologic analysis revealed that the remains of ancient human activity indicate an attempt to cope with the flow regime of the stream from the north and with the massive amounts of eroded soil from the south. It seems that the northern part of the excavation area was entirely located inside the ancient streambed. This is evident in both the geological section (length c. 20 m), aligned east–west, in which layers of natural pebbles are clearly visible, and in the northern excavation squares that mostly contained natural stream pebbles and small stones, pointing to the presence of an active stream in this area.
The excavation area was located along a kind of geological ‘seam’. Alluvium that contained many natural stream pebbles and small stones that originated in Nahal Har’el was excavated in the four southern squares, whereas colluvium that originated in the erosion from the hills south of the excavation area was excavated in the four northern squares.
Two phases of activity were discovered in the excavation squares.
The early phase was noted in the group of northern squares. Numerous potsherds from the Intermediate Bronze Age (end of the third millennium BCE) were discovered in the western square, together with natural stream pebbles that were deposited in layers in the stream. A meager wall (W3; Fig. 1) built of fieldstones in a single row, generally aligned east–west (preserved length 2. 6 m), was discovered in the eastern square. Several large stones parallel to the wall were discovered; these might have been deliberately placed to form a kind of channel inside the active stream bed. The potsherds recovered from both sides of the wall date to the Intermediate Bronze Age and it seems that the remains reflect measures aimed at regulating the flow of the stream for agricultural purposes. No settlement remains were discovered in this area.
The late phase was mostly discovered in the group of southern squares. A massive wall (W1; exposed length 6 m, width 0.7–1.0 m), oriented north–south, was built of two rows of large fieldstones (average dimensions: 0.4×0.4 m, 0.3×0.5 m) that survived a single course high. Brown soil mixed with small stones was excavated on either side of it; the potsherds contained in the soil enabled to date the construction of the wall to the Early Roman period (first century BCE–first century CE). In the absence of any habitation or floor signs connected to the wall and based on an analysis of the geological section in the north of the excavation area, the wall was presumably used in the Roman period as a sort of dam that halted the flow of water or diverted it in accordance with the agricultural needs of the region. Another wall-like element (W2; preserved length c 3 m, width 0.5–1.0 m; see Fig. 1), built of small and medium fieldstones and preserved to a maximum of three courses high, was discovered c. 10 m east of the wall. It was generally oriented north–south and the potsherds collected on both its sides enabled to date it to the Early Roman period.
Area G. Walls and stone levels that indicate ancient human activity were discovered in the probe trenches and fourteen squares (5×5 m) were opened over a distance of c. 80 m. The main find was remains of a rural road, ascribed to the Roman period (Fig. 2), which was built parallel to the ancient channel of Nahal Har’el and in accordance with the topography. Unlike the Roman state roads, which were paved after meticulous planning and characterized by their monumentality, the rural roads were mostly a local initiative, built for agricultural and commercial purposes. Remains of the road were also discovered in Area B and it seems that it was at least 800 m long. The remains in this area were exposed c. 1 m below the surface in dark brown silt deposited by erosion. The road was built of two stone walls, aligned east–west and set 2.3 m apart. A bedding of pebbles that would impart stability to the road was deposited in places where the alluvial soil was less stable and where the bedrock foundation was low, the walls were built of larger stones and boulders that were sometimes as much as 0.5×0.7 m in size. The number of stone courses in the enclosure walls also varies in accordance with the topography. Fill of stones and stream pebbles, which reached a thickness in excess of 0.5 m, was poured in layers between the two enclosure walls. Potsherds that dated the road to the Early Roman period (first century BCE–first century CE) were discovered, among other things, between the stones in the fill and on the upper layer of pebbles that served as the road surface. Potsherds dating to Early Bronze Age II-III and Iron Age II were discovered in the levels between the surface and the pebble fill.
Sections of partially preserved walls, built parallel to the road and generally aligned east–west, were discovered in the area. The absence of a floor or habitation level associated with them and the alluvial soil discovered from the top of the walls to their bottom indicate that the walls were not part of a residential structure. They were probably used as a barrier to prevent the stream from flooding the road during winter time. Several wall stumps, built perpendicular to the road in a north–south direction, were also exposed. They were not part of residential structures and probably related to agricultural plots that were cultivated alongside the road. They probably marked the plots and were presumably intended to prevent inundation of the road with silt.
It seems that the road was founded in the midst of farmland that was subject to flooding and the flow of large amounts of sediment. Access to the plots necessitated a convenient road and this was built to conform to the ground conditions. Protective walls were built along the road to prevent flooding and dams that channeled water from the stream to be exploited to the utmost (see Area R), were constructed.
Area C was located c. 150 m east of Area G. Remains of walls and stone levels were discovered in the probe trenches and ten squares (5×5 m) were opened in a row. A system of walls, built along the ancient stream channel and generally aligned east–west, was exposed in all the squares, save the westernmost one. The system’s main wall was well-preserved and exposed in most of the excavation squares (Fig. 3). Its construction conformed to the topography of the stream channel, utilizing flat medium-sized stones where the stream channel was shallow, while boulders were sometimes arranged in several courses where the channel was deep. The wall that delimited the system on the north was only partially preserved. Remains of other walls, which were probably part of the system, were evident in the area. Like the rural road exposed in Area G, here too layers of stream pebbles were found between the two walls but a geomorphologic examination revealed that most of the stream pebbles were natural depositions. It therefore seems that the walls were intended to channel the flow of the stream and over the years, pebbles were deposited between and beyond them, and even above them, as visible in several sections dug in the excavation area. The recovered finds mainly included potsherds collected from the pebble depositions. The potsherds were mostly worn from the action of the water and dated to Early Bronze Age II-III (third millennium BCE), Middle Bronze Age (second millennium BCE), Iron Age II (eighth century BCE) and the Early Roman period (first century BCE–first century CE). It is not possible to date accurately the construction of the wall system; however, like the system of dam walls and the rural road it seems that the wall system is also from the Roman period. The provenance of the more ancient potsherds is likely to be the nearby sites, which are contemporary with these periods.
Area N, east of Area C, was next to the eastern end of a broad valley between two spurs of chalk hill, which was the source of the massive erosion and accumulation of colluvial soil in the excavation area. Following the discovery of wall remains and levels connected to them, four squares (5×5 m; Fig. 4) were opened and two strata were discovered. The early layer was the first and perhaps the only evidence of a habitation, which was probably seasonal and associated with agriculture. Remains of a wall, built of a single row of small and medium fieldstones and generally oriented east–west (W117; preserved length 3.5 m), was exposed. The wall was abutted by several floor levels of crushed limestone or stream pebbles (L113, L120). The pottery discovered in situ on the floors was in a very poor state of preservation due to constant moisture and soil acidity. The overwhelming majority of potsherds consisted of small body fragments that could not be used for dating; however, several dozens of the potsherds are diagnostic, making it possible to date the entire complex to the Intermediate Bronze Age (end of the third millennium BCE). Two walls (W104, W108; preserved length in excess of 10 m) built above W117 indicate that the latter was part of a structure, dismantled and destroyed in antiquity. The walls, oriented north–south and preserved one–three courses high, were built perpendicular to the stream channel of medium-sized fieldstones in clusters, including the stones of the ancient building. The construction was insufficiently solid and substantial collapse was evident. The walls could not be dated with certainty; it seems that they postdated the ancient building of the Intermediate Bronze Age. They may have served as dam walls or barriers designed to stop erosion, although their construction differs from that of the dam walls from the Roman period in Areas A and R and no potsherds dating to the Roman period were discovered in Area N. They probably also dated then, to the Intermediate Bronze Age, but to the phase after the ancient building went out of use.
Area B. Three clusters of three squares each were opened, following the discovery of layers of stream pebbles and potsherds in probe trenches. A segment of the rural road, exposed in Area G, was discovered in the three western squares. Although poorly preserved and mostly eroded and destroyed, it does indicate the length of the road, which extended over a distance of at least 750 m from east to west. The road construction in Areas B and G was identical, whereby two fieldstone walls were built parallel and 2.3 m apart with a fill of stream pebbles deposited between them. The potsherds found in the context of the road section date to the Intermediate Bronze Age and the Roman period; the road is ascribed to the latter.
Stone levels were exposed in the eastern group of squares, which were apparently placed on the banks of the flowing stream to create work surfaces associated with agricultural activity, whose nature is unclear (Fig. 5). Like similar surfaces discovered in sites in the north of the country, such as Nahal Rimmonim and ‘En Ha-More (HA-ESI 114:37*), the stone surfaces of Kh. Hasan mainly included limestone stream pebbles (average dimensions: 20×20 cm). However, unlike the northern sites, very meager finds were discovered on top of the Kh. Hasan stone surfaces. Potsherds and flint debitage were discovered in the fill beneath them. Based on a potsherd analysis, these levels should be dated to the Intermediate Bronze Age (the end of the third millennium BCE).
Area R was located in the eastern part of the site, south of a broad valley that descends toward the stream channel. Over the years, soil eroded from the south and the region is characterized by accumulations of 4–5 m of colluvium above the bedrock, which contained archaeological remains. These related to the way man coped with the flooding and the erosion from the south; on the one hand, dam walls and terraces were designed to channel the flow of the stream and on the other, they were meant to stop the erosion from damaging cultivation plots. The walls (Fig. 6), usually built perpendicular to the flow of the stream and generally aligned northeast-southwest, of very large boulders, some up to 1 m in length. The stones were fieldstones, incorporated with well-dressed stones from the collapsed buildings, probably in secondary use. The walls were built directly on the eroded soil, which was unstable and the flowing water in the region caused most of the walls that were not anchored to the bedrock in foundation trenches to collapse. Layers of natural pebbles that abutted the walls were exposed; the pebbles evidently represent the flow of water that was stopped by these walls and in that way indicate that the walls functioned as dams. No settlement or habitation levels that are the result of human activity were found. The collected potsherds, which were associated with the walls, dated to the Roman period.