In January 2017, a salvage excavation was conducted in Modiʽin, southeast of Horbat Kelah (Permit No. A-7895; map ref. 198956–9114/647746–854; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Aviv Danieli–Shoenfeld Engineering Ltd., was directed by V. Eshed (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), C. Ben-Ari (GPS), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), H. Rosenstein (metallurgical laboratory) and R. Kool (numismatics).
Archaeological excavations were previously conducted within the precincts of H
, yielding agricultural installations (Haiman 2014
), limekilns, winepresses, quarries, field towers and burial caves (Kogan-Zehavi and Zelinger 2007
), as well as a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A site (Spivak 2010
The current excavation revealed ancient industrial agricultural installations hewn in hard limestone bedrock (Fig. 2): a kiln, possibly for lime, and three basins and cupmarks.
Kiln (L2; diam. c. 4 m, excavated depth 3.5 m; Figs. 3, 4). Three layers were identified within the installation: an upper fill (thickness c. 2.5 m) consisting mostly of charred indigenous limestone (length c. 0.5 m); a middle layer of white lime; and a bottom layer of black ash. The kiln was probably intended for burning stones for preparing lime, but the charred stones found inside the kiln suggest that the burning process had not been completed. A small, well-preserved silver coin (medini; IAA 152762) of the Ottoman sultan Osman II (1618–1622 CE) that had been minted in Cairo (Misr) in 627 AH (1618 CE) was found at a depth of one meter.
Basins and Cupmarks. Five bedrock outcrops (L3, L4, L7–L9), bearing hewn basins and cupmarks were revealed. Outcrop 3 had one cupmark (Fig. 5). Outcrop 4 included a basin (Figs. 6, 7) with a hewn channel extending from its western edge, possibly for collecting runoff. Outcrop 7 had a basin located on its western side; to the north is a cupmark (Figs. 8, 9). To the east, two cupmarks were joined by a short channel, and another channel connected these cupmarks to a third cupmark with a hewn depression. Outcrop 8 had a basin; to its east is a cupmark (Fig. 10, 11). Outcrop 9 had a cupmark in its center (Figs. 12, 13).
The hewn cupmarks seem to have been part of a local industry that used bedrock outcrops for pounding and crushing activities (van den Brink 2007).
This is evident by the multiple cupmarks on some of the outcrops and the drainage channels that connect some of the cupmarks. The date of the installations is unclear because no diagnostic potsherds were found. Similar installations were discovered in archaeological sites and ancient ruins surrounding the excavation. These show evidence of habitation dating from the late Hellenistic, Byzantine, Early Islamic and Ottoman periods. The excavated installations probably represent the far outskirts of one of the nearby settlements, perhaps H
, located c. 1 km to the north.
Haiman M. 2014. Modiʽin, H
. HA-ESI 126
Kogan-Zehavi E. and Zelinger Y. 2007. The Agricultural Hinterland West of Horbat Barfiliya, Modiʽin. ʽAtiqot 57:1*–27* (Hebrew; English summary, pp. 165–166).
Van den Brink E.C.M. 2007. Modiʽin, H
adat and Be’erit (A). HA-ESI 119