Area A. Two lime kilns and two winepresses were excavated on the southern slope of the hill. The kilns (upper diameter c. 3 m, bottom diameter 1.0–1.3 m, depth 2.5–3.0 m; Figs. 2–5), situated c. 220 m apart, were partially hewn in the bedrock and partially built of fieldstones. A large amount of ash and wood charcoal was found in a layer of fill (thickness c. 0.5 m) at the bottom of the kilns. According to 14C analysis of the charcoal, the eastern kiln (L108) was last used at some point between the mid-fifteen century and the mid-seventeenth century CE, and the western kiln (L109) was last used sometime between the eighteenth and the early twentieth centuries CE (see Appendix).
Between the two kilns were two rock-hewn winepresses, situated c. 85 m from each other. The eastern winepress (L101; c. 1.5×2.0 m; Figs. 6, 7) consisted of a treading floor and a cupmark that was hewn just to its north. The western winepress (L102; c. 1.3×2.0 m; Figs. 8, 9) consisted of a treading floor and a collecting vat. A subterranean channel (length c. 0.3 m, diameter c. 0.05 m), hewn in the bedrock, conveyed liquids from the floor to the vat. A shallow settling pit was hewn in the vat’s floor.
A burial cave (Fig. 10) was discovered during the course of infrastructure work in the area; it was not excavated.
Area B. Two bedrock outcrops were cleaned, and two winepresses, a charcoal kiln in a cave and cupmarks were unearthed on the hilltop. The cupmarks were exposed in two clusters: the southern outcrop (L106; c. 1.5×3.0 m; Figs. 11, 12), with three hewn cupmarks of different sizes; and the northern outcrop (L111; c. 2.0×3.5 m; Figs. 13, 14), with three hewn cupmarks of different sizes and a narrow, shallow rock-hewn channel that wound between them.
The winepresses were rock-hewn and consisted of treading floors and collecting vats. The southern winepress (L104; c. 3×3 m; Figs. 15, 16) had an irregularly shaped treading floor with indistinct borders, a rectangular collecting vat (c. 0.55×0.90 m), a system of shallow hewn channels and cupmarks that surrounded the winepress. Two channels that delimited the treading floor connected it with the cupmarks; they drained liquid from the cupmarks and the floor into the collecting vat. In the northern winepress (L105; c. 3×4 m; Figs. 17, 18) two shallow, hewn channels connected a collecting vat with an irregularly shaped treading floor with indistinct boundaries that lay to its west. The channels delimited the treading floor and drained the liquid to the vat. Another short channel connected the treading floor to an almost rectangular collecting vat (c. 0.60×1.85 m) that had a small elongated sump, which served as the winepress’s settling pit, in its floor. Northwest of the winepress, next to the collecting vat, was a small shallow cupmark, the function of which was unclear.
The charcoal kiln cave was covered by a large heap of ash. Upon its removal, an entrance was found that led into a subterranean cavity (L110; Figs. 19, 20). The entrance was blocked by a wall which was partially preserved to the height of three courses (W10; preserved height c. 0.6 m). The wall was built of dry fieldstone construction (c. 0.25×0.30×0.35 m) above a layer of soil and ash (thickness c. 0.2 m) at the bottom of the cave, which was smoothed bedrock. The wall was used in the second phase of activity in the cave. A hewn niche (c. 0.5×0.5 m) was discovered in the eastern wall of the cave, c. 1 m above the floor; the length of the niche was not ascertained because it was not completely unearthed. The niche was full of soil and stones, without ash. Three charcoal samples were collected from the accumulated layers in the cave, which contained a large amount of ash: two were collected c. 0.4 m above the floor of the cave, and one was taken from the accumulation layer found on the floor. The 14C analyses of the two upper samples showed that the cave was used during the last 60 years; the charcoal taken from the floor indicated use of the cave sometime between the mid-seventeenth century and the mid-twentieth century CE (see Appendix).
Area C. A lime kiln and five rock-hewn winepresses of different sizes were discovered and excavated on the eastern slope of the hill. The lime kiln (L112; bottom diameter 3 m, maximum upper diameter 5 m, minimum depth 3.5 m; Figs. 21, 22) was partly hewn in the bedrock and partly built of fieldstones. A rectangular stoke channel (0.6×1.1 m), used to insert fuel, opened c. 3 m north of the kiln and led to the bottom of the installation. The channel was covered with stone slabs. The excavation did not reach the floor of the kiln due to its depth. A 14C analysis of a sample of wood charcoal taken from a fill inside the kiln at the bottom level of the stoking channel suggests that the lime kiln was last used in the first half of the fifteenth century CE (see Appendix).
The five winepresses were hewn in three bedrock outcrops. On the northern outcrop (L114; c. 6×7 m; Figs. 23, 24) were a pair of winepresses – a large one and a smaller one – that have treading floors and collecting vats. A narrow, shallow channel (depth c. 7 cm) was located between the square treading floor (c. 2×2 m) of the large winepress and its rectangular collecting vat (c. 1.0×1.8 m). The shape of the small winepress was not as distinct. Shallow channels that drained the liquids into the collecting vats were hewn around the winepresses. A round settling pit was located at the bottom of the collecting vat in the large winepress.
A small, poorly preserved winepress (L117) with no clearly defined shape or boundaries was unearthed c. 8 m southeast of the pair of winepresses. It was hewn in a bedrock outcrop (c. 4×6 m; Fig. 25) with several depressions of different shapes and sizes and a long narrow channel (depth c. 6 cm) that descended north toward a rectangular depression. Approximately 100 m southeast of the winepress was a bedrock surface (c. 8×8 m) in which two winepresses were hewn (L115; Fig. 26). A small winepress in the northern part of the surface comprised an irregularly shaped treading floor and an elliptical collecting vat to its north. A shallow, round settling pit was hewn in vat’s floor. A hewn perforation in the bedrock, probably used for tethering a donkey, was found west and adjacent to the treading floor. A larger winepress (Fig. 27), consisting of an almost square treading floor (2.0×2.3 m) and a rectangular collecting vat (c. 1.0×1.9 m), was hewn in the southern part of the outcrop. The partition between the two elements was almost destroyed, but a round hewn vertical hole could be discerned, through which liquid passed from the treading floor to the collecting vat. After the winepress went out of use, an entrance was hewn in the bottom of the collecting vat, which led to a subterranean cavity, which was left unexcavated. A large stone lay above the treading floor of the winepress; it probably rolled downhill.
Area D. A lime kiln, three caves, installations hewn in a bedrock outcrop and a pair of circular buildings were documented on the southeast of the hill, but were not completely excavated. The lime kiln (L118; upper diameter c. 3.5 m; Figs. 28–30), found in the eastern part of the area, was built inside a collapsed cave that had another opening, located west of the kiln. The wall of the kiln, which was built of fieldstones, was exposed.
The southern cave served as a columbarium (L119). The cave, entered through the ceiling by way of an almost square rock-hewn opening (c. 1.2×1.3 m; Fig. 31), was bell-shaped. Ten square and circular niches (c. 0.12×0.15×0.12 m; Fig. 32) were hewn in rows along its northern wall. The excavation of the cave was not completed. The ceramic assemblage from the cave was mixed, comprising later sherds, mostly from the Late Ottoman period, but also several from the Iron Age. A 14C analysis of wood charcoal gathered from the fill in the cave’s opening (c. 396.3 m asl) indicated that the cave was blocked sometime between the end of the seventeenth century and the middle of the twentieth century CE (see Appendix).
The northern cave (L120; Figs. 33, 34) had a hewn opening (c. 0.8×1.9 m) and at least three steps. Another rectangular opening (c. 0.60×0.75 m) was hewn in the ceiling of the cave, 5 m south of the first opening. The content of the cave was not excavated. Six hewn cupmarks of different sizes, the purpose of which is unclear, and a shaft that led to another cave (L123) were unearthed between the northern and southern caves. Cave 123 had another opening that was blocked with large fieldstones, which was located west of the bedrock outcrop with four cupmarks (Figs. 35, 36). The inside of the cave was not excavated. Another pair of cupmarks was located c. 8 m north of the cave (Fig. 37).
In the north of the area were the remains of a pair of rounded buildings (L121, L122; Figs. 38, 39), built of one course of fieldstones of different sizes founded on a layer of soil (thickness c. 0.2 m) covering the bedrock. The western was round (inner diameter 2.4 m), and the eastern one was smaller (inner diameter c. 2 m) and less regular in shape.
Pottery sherds ranging from the Byzantine period to the modern era were uncovered in all the excavation areas. Sherds from the Iron Age were found in the columbarium cave. The installations, which were utilized over a long period of time, belonged to the agricultural hinterland of the region’s settlements, which probably included the large village of al-Dawima, where excavations have been previously conducted (Permit Nos. A-5973, A-6125).
Dagan Y. 2007. Map of Amazya (109) (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.