Areas A and D (Survey Points 49, 53)

These areas are adjacent to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B site excavated by Goring-Morris (1999). Using mechanical equipment, five excavation squares and three trenches were opened up. The trial excavations found no archaeological remains, apart from sparsely dispersed flint items (see Oron, below). This area therefore appears to be located beyond the boundaries of the Neolithic site.


Area B (Survey Points 54, 55)

The survey identified sections of walls with scattered flint items (see Oron, below). The wall sections flanked a path leading from the hill summit to the streambed (Fig. 4). A photograph from the kibbutz archives shows the early kibbutz members constructing paths across the slopes (Fig. 5) and this path is probably one of these. The excavation yielded a few worn surface potsherds from the Late Roman period.


Area C (Survey Points 35–37, 56, 58)

Limekiln (35). The limekiln’s southern half was hewn into the natural rock that drops steeply northward (Fig. 6) and its northern half was built of a limestone wall (W341; 2 m high, 1 m wide) composed of two rows of stones with a core of crushed chalk and small gravel stones. Around the limekiln, a thick layer of ash and small limestone fragments (L326) abutting the outer face of W341 was probably intended to prevent the kiln from collapsing down the slope. On the northeastern side was the vent, whose small fieldstone walls (W335, W336) were set on a stone floor (L303) and were preserved for a single course. The stoke hole was not found and it may have been on the north side. The kiln was filled with a thick layer of ash and chalk (L306; 2 m thick) covering a pile of stone collapse (L325; Fig. 7) that had fallen from W341, beneath which was a layer of black ash (L340; 0.2 m thick). No diagnostic finds were recovered.


Cave (36). An elliptical cave (6 × 8 m; Fig. 8) was hewn into the soft chalk bedrock beneath the hard nari layer that served as its roof. Apart from the chiseling marks, no human activity was detected in the cave. Large chunks of rock that had apparently fallen from the roof were found on the cave floor, attesting to a collapse that occurred not long after the cave was hewn and began to be used and that apparently led to the cessation of activity inside it.

An earlier occupation phase, detected beneath the rock boulders and soil and ash deposits, consisted of a square socket (L318) and a circular cupmark (L351), together with another cupmark (L317) on a rock surface outside the cave entrance. The rock cuttings were covered with a layer of brown soil (L331); no diagnostic finds were retrieved from this phase. A substantially thick layer of ash (L309), probably a hearth (L319; Fig. 9), is attributed to a later phase. A few ribbed body fragments, probably of Byzantine jars, attest to activity during this period. At some time, the cave fell into disuse and was again covered with a layer of brown soil (L304). Rocks found inside the cave overlying this layer are probably additional roof collapse. Modern finds were retrieved from between these boulders. It is unknown when the cave was hewn, the few Byzantine potsherds recovered from the later phase not contributing to its dating.

Stone Quarry (37)
Yiftah Shalev

A large quarry for the extraction of building blocks was uncovered on a steep, northward-sloping rocky outcrop. The quarry has three quarrying steps (each c. 12 m long; Fig. 10). A rock-hewn surface (2.8 × 5.6 m) was uncovered on the highest step (L321) and the lower steps had two surfaces (2 × 2 m each; L338). The quarrying marks on the upper step (Fig. 11) were better preserved, enabling the reconstruction of the size of the stones and the working method. Based on the quarrying marks, the building stones’ dimensions were uniform (0.3 × 0.4 × 1.2 m). On the west side (A) two rows of stones were quarried out along the step, three stones in each row; in the center (B) a single row of six stones was extracted across the breadth of the step; in the east (C) there were two rows along the step, each of which produced eight stones.

The quarrying method can be reconstructed in the following order: Firstly, the row of stones in the center of the quarry (B) was removed. The location of the first stone in the lower slopes of the quarry and the natural slope enabled extracting it by cutting a fairly shallow severance channel. This was followed by hewing out the stones along the step to the west (A) and to the east (C). The chisel marks on the quarry walls show that two layers were removed from the rock surface, indicating that these steps produced about 56 building stones. The stones were detached by cutting separation channels around each stone and a severance channel beneath it (Safrai and Sasson 2001). The separation channels are trapezoidal, narrowing toward the base (c. 10–12 cm wide at the top and c. 2–3 cm at the bottom). The marks at the base of the channels indicate that the quarrying was performed with a chisel or a pickax with a smooth, non-serrated blade (c. 2 cm wide). Most of the vertical channels were cut from the top down in the direction of the slope, although some were cut in the opposite direction, and the horizontal channels were mainly cut from west to east. The initial severance channel was cut from northwest of the lowest stone in the central row of stones. This channel was shallow and slanted at the bottom, providing easy access to the base of the stone. Once this was removed, work could begin on the base of the next stone, followed by all the other stones in the quarry.

At the bottom of the severance channels, small indents were detected penetrating beneath the stone (15 cm wide; 5–6 cm deep) that enabled the fissure stake to be inserted into the base of the stone (Fig. 12). The indents were cut c. 10–12 cm apart, making a total of four niches along the length of each stone. No quarry marks were found at the bottom of the indents, indicating that the stakes were inserted between two lehayayim—wooden slats that protected both sides of the stake while it was being struck. This severance method is known from several quarries in the Jerusalem area, where a similar phenomenon has been found (Safrai and Sasson 2001:23; Zilberbod and Sasson 2009:148–149). 

A shallow, square depression (L327; see Fig. 11), hewn after the upper layer of building stones was removed, was found on the western side of the quarry. No diagnostic finds were recovered and its function is unclear. Based on the method of cutting and detaching the stones, the quarry can be dated to the Late Roman or Byzantine period (Sion at al. 2011).


Terrace wall (56). About 30 m north of Cave 36, the top of a stone wall (W305) constructed on a rock step was visible. A c. 15 m long section (Fig. 13), extending eastward and westward beyond the excavation area, was exposed, as was another section to its east. The wall was set on the bedrock accommodating the natural depressions in the rock, and it was built of two rows of small to medium-sized fieldstones, mostly preserved for a single course, while on its western side it stood two–four courses high (Fig. 14). A surface of small stones (L339) that abutted the wall to the south may have been swept down to the foot of the wall and have accumulated there. The surface to the south of the wall yielded a few worn fragments of an Early Roman cooking pot, but they do not help date its construction. A kibbutz archive photograph shows a guard standing behind a terrace wall whose construction resembles that of W56 (Fig. 15).


Quarry (58).Signs of coarse quarrying on a rock surface were detected between Limekiln 35 and Terrace Wall 56 (Fig. 16).The marks are different from those in Quarry 37, and stones were probably extracted here to be burned in the limekiln. A few worn Roman and Byzantine potsherds were recovered from the area.

Area E (Survey Points 31, 48)

Two terrace walls were built across the center of the streambed. The lower terrace wall was discovered by the survey (Point 48) and the upper wall was unearthed in the excavations. The terrace walls are about 50 m apart and are shaped like a bow with its ends extending toward the slopes (Fig. 17). The walls (c. 0.7 m wide; preserved for two courses), founded on the streambed, were built of medium-sized chalk fieldstones interspersed with small stones. The middle sections of the walls were ruined, and their stones were scattered downstream, attesting to the passage of rapidly flowing water. Unidentified potsherds were found in the area. Based on testimony from kibbutz members and an archive photograph (Fig. 18), the early members grew vineyards on the slopes and in the streambeds and the terrace walls that were found were probably used to cultivate the vineyards.


Area F (Survey Points 27, 28, 29, 30, 47)

Limekiln (47). Only the western part of a limekiln on the westward slope was excavated (Fig. 19). On the steep slope, a double fieldstone wall was constructed (W701, W704; max. width c. 1.7 m). The kiln’s vent (L706) faced north, as Kiln 35 in Area C, and was flanked by two walls (W709, W710). At some stage, the opening was blocked with a wall (W708) and the kiln was apparently converted for another purpose. The kiln and its surroundings were covered with a thick deposit of ash and soil and yielded no diagnostic finds. In recent times, refuse and cattle carcasses were discarded in the kiln (Fig. 20).


Two Rock-Hewn Winepresses (30). Two winepresses were discovered on a broad rock surface (Fig. 21). Winepress 30/1 was carefully hewn into the westerly sloping bedrock. It had a square treading floor (L610; 2.6 × 2.8 m, 0.1–0.2 m deep; Fig. 22), in the center of which was a shallow rectangular rock-cutting (L616; 0.9 × 1.2 m, c. 0.2 m deep) whose function was unclear since it was too large to accommodate a screw press (Ayalon, Frankel and Kloner 2013:29–30). The surface drained into a square collecting vat (L613; 1.0 × 1.1 m, 1 m deep) from which it was separated by a thick rock-hewn partition wall (0.2 m thick, c. 0.25 m high). The wall was broken in the middle, where there was probably a drainage hole through which the must flowed into the collecting vat. Square shallow depressions (L617, L619; c. 0.2–0.3 m deep) were found on either side of the vat and a shelf or step was discovered in the vat wall. These depressions were probably used to press the grape pomace (Hirschfeld 1981:384). A few worn potsherds retrieved from the accumulations filling the collecting vat (L613) included a fragment of a Roman–Byzantine-period Kefar Hananya cooking pot (not drawn).

Winepress 30/2, a simple press hewn into the extremely worn, fissured rock (Fig. 23), had a gently sloping rectangular treading floor (L601; 1.2–1.5 ´ 2.0 m, c. 0.25 m max. depth). An elliptical collecting vat exposed to the west of the floor (L608; 1.2 ´ 1.5 m, c. 0.6 m deep) contained a sump for waste at the bottom (c. 0.5 m diam., c. 0.2 m deep). No evidence of a drainage channel was preserved between the treading floor and the collecting vat. Two cupmarks (c. 0.25 m diam., c. 0.2 m deep) were found beside the treading floor and next to the collecting vat. No diagnostic finds were recovered, and the simple form of the winepress cannot be dated. This winepress bears a similarity to a group of simple undated winepresses located nearby on the southern slopes of Migdal Ha-ʽEmeq (Shalev 2017).


Cave (28/1). The cave was accessed via a rock-hewn shaft (L605; 1.0 × 1.4 m; Fig. 24); its roof had collapsed onto a soil accumulation (L618) that filled the cavity. The accumulation yielded two bronze coins dating from 356–368 CE (IAA 162930, 162931), a few potsherds and a fragment of a third–fourth-century CE glass bowl (not drawn). These finds attest to the period of the cave’s use, probably for burial.


Rock-Cutting (28/2) was found c. 20 m east of Cave 28/1 (Fig. 24). Beside it were two cupmarks (0.15–0.20 m diam., c. 0.1 m deep; Fig. 25).


Cave (27). A cave discovered to the northeast of Rock-Cutting 28/2 contained calcareous stones, some bearing hewing marks, indicating that the cave was used as a quarry for stones for lime production.

Area G (Survey Point 32)

Winepress (32/1). A winepress carefully hewn in the bedrock with a gently sloping, approximately square treading floor (L806; 2.5 × 2.8 m, 0.25–0.60 m deep; Figs. 26, 27). A circular hollow (0.4 m diam., 0.26 m deep) for securing a screw press in the center of the floor was found full of small stones. The floor drained via a through hole into a square collecting vat (L808; 1.3 × 1.4 m, c. 1.5 m deep). The winepress was similar in form to Winepress 30/1 in Area F, apart from the round screw base. The collecting vat was filled with alluvium and contained a few worn Roman and Byzantine potsherds (not drawn). A shallow elongated rectangular rock-cutting (L803; 1.5 × 5.5 m, c. 0.3 m max. depth) was discovered near the winepress; it is unclear what its purpose was, and whether it was associated with the winepress. 


Quarry (32/2), found on the hill slope to the east of Winepress 32/1, contained marks of building-block severance channels (Fig. 28). However, the dimensions of the stones quarried could not be specified.

Flint Tools
Maya Oron

The following discussion deals with the assemblage of knapped flint items from all the excavation areas (N=675; Table 1). Most of the flint items were found in secondary deposition in and beside later installations and in the alluvial soil on the slopes. Many of the items were abraded and covered with patina, especially those found on the slope and in the later installations in Areas B, C, E and F, while the items from Areas A and D were better preserved and may originate from the fringes of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B site. The main bulk of the assemblage consists of an ad hoc flake industry that is difficult to attribute to a particular period or culture, along with items made using Levallois knapping methods characteristic of the Middle Paleolithic period, together with a few formal tools that can be attributed to Pre-Pottery Neolithic B.

The cores (N=57; Table 2) are divided into several types; the most prominent are flake cores that are either amorphous or have a single striking platform. In addition to these, a large group of non-abraded Levallois cores was covered with a yellowish patina, of a characteristic Middle Paleolithic type (Fig. 29:1–3). Most of the Levallois cores were found in Area A in the reddish soil overlying the bedrock, and they were probably swept down from the nearby Middle Palaeolithic site and deposited together with the soil on the bedrock. Blade cores with a single striking platform and bladelet cores that were also recovered (Fig. 29:4) come from an unidentified provenance.

Most of the tools (N=21; Table 3) belong to an ad hoc industry and the majority are denticulates, notches and retouched items. Formal tools of types found in Pre-Pottery Neolithic B assemblages were also retrieved, including a Jericho-type arrowhead (Fig. 29:5) and a few sickle blades made of purple flint that is characteristic of the same period (Fig. 29:6, 7). The formal tools were found in Areas A and D near the Neolithic site, and they may originate from the site fringes, as well as from Area E adjacent to a terrace in the streambed where they were probably in secondary deposition.


Table 1. General breakdown of lithic assemblage


Primary element


Levallois flake


Bifacial blade


Core trimming elements

Biface debitage

Total debitage


Chunks and chips

Table 2. Core types

Core fragment


Flake core


Blade core


Bladelet core


Levallois core


Table 3. Tool types and breakdown in assemblage


Sickle blades


Retouched items


Denticulates and notches


It was not possible to date the agricultural and industrial installations and burial caves uncovered in the excavation due to the meager ceramic finds, apart from the winepresses in Area F (30/1) and in Area G (32/1), as screw presses of this kind were first used in the Late Roman period (Ayalon, Frankel and Kloner 2013:29–30). Caves 36 in Area C and 28/1 in Area F may have served as burial caves in the Late Roman period. The installations show that the area was exploited for agriculture and industry during the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, and possibly again in the Middle Bronze Age. They can probably be associated with two nearby archaeological sites that were settled during these periods (Raban and Shemesh 2016: Sites 59, 60). The terrace walls and paths can be attributed to the early members of Kibbutz Kefar Ha-Horesh, who prepared the area for growing vines and built tracks across the slopes.