During January–February and July 2003, salvage excavations and a survey were conducted in Modi‘in (Permit No. A-3816; map ref. NIG 1998–2024/6426–6433; OIG 1498–1524/1426–33), prior to the paving of the southern routes of Highways 11 and 12. The excavations, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Netive Ayyalon Company, were directed by O. Shmueli and O. Segal, with the assistance of U. ‘Ad (area supervision), Y. Dangur (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (photography), A. Glick and L. Barda (GPS system), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and G. Hillel, I. Korenfeld and T. Kanias.
The excavations and survey were undertaken along the southern bank of a wadi channel (length 2 km; Areas A–C; Fig. 1), from the northeastern fringes of Horbat Hadat in the east to the Modi‘in–Latrun road (Highway 2) in the west. The ancient remains included roads, burial caves, winepresses, a rock-hewn staircase, quarries, cupmarks, a crushing stone of an oil press, dams built to exploit rainwater for agricultural purposes (Figs. 2, 3), farming terraces, stone clearance heaps and natural caves. It seems that some of the finds were associated with the settlement whose remains were exposed nearby and dated to the Chalcolithic, Roman and Byzantine periods.
The western part of the area bordered on the southern edge of Khirbat Umm el-‘Umdan (HA-ESI
114:64*–68*; HA-ESI 118
) and its eastern part bordered on the fringes of H
adat (HA 4:15, 5:18; 6:17 [Hebrew]; HA-ESI 119
). The area was surveyed in 2002 (HA-ESI 117
, HA-ESI 118
Roads. Sections of two roads (22, 30) were excavated and another road (38) was documented. Two half squares were opened in Road 30, which extended along the wadi channel. Two building phases were discerned in the construction of the road, which was enclosed on both sides by walls of roughly hewn stones, preserved two–three courses high. The roadbed, exposed on the northern side of the road, consisted of small and medium-sized stones. Two excavation squares were opened along the edge of the northern slope of Horbat Hadat (Area B), where levels of small and medium stones that were probably the continuation of the roadbed, were exposed. This was probably a local road. Road 22 branched off of Road 30 and ascended to the southeast, toward Horbat Be’erit and Horbat Qanuba. The sides of the road were delimited by walls of dressed stones that were preserved three courses high (0.5 m). The roadbed was not discovered, yet soil fill used to level surface was exposed. Road 38 (width 10 m), oriented north–south, was built on a bedrock terrace and delineated by large boulders.
Burial Caves. Six rock-hewn burial caves (36, 71, 82, 84a, 84b, 85) were located in the wadi channel. Another tomb was hewn in the collecting vat of a winepress (83) after the latter was no longer in use. The tombs were not completely cleared; only the courtyards of the burial caves were excavated because of constraints imposed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Burial Caves 36, 71, 82 and 85 were hewn close to the channel and their entrances faced Road 30. Burial Cave 84a was hewn on a bedrock terrace, slightly higher up and its entrance did not face Road 30. All the burial caves had a square courtyard and a façade that included a doorway surrounded by a stepped frame. The ceramic finds from the courtyards dated to the Early Roman period, save those recovered from the courtyard of Cave 71, which dated to the Roman and Byzantine periods, indicating this cave was in use for a longer period. The fact that some of the caves’ entrances faced Road 30 indicates they were contemporary.
Winepresses. Eight rock-hewn winepresses were excavated (9, 14, 15a, 15b, 45, 61, 69, 83). Four of the winepresses (9, 14, 15a, 15b) included a treading floor and a circular collecting vat. Three of the winepresses (45, 61, 69) included a treading floor and a square collecting vat. Winepress 83 was more complex and consisted of a treading floor and two plastered collecting vats.
Hewn Bedrock Steps. On the northeastern slope of Horbat Hadat, a rock-cut staircase that consisted of ten–twelve steps (69; width 0.6 m, height of 0.45 m; Fig. 4), was exposed. The steps may have led to a winepress. A deep cupmark (diam. 0.25 m) was discerned above the fifth step from the bottom of the staircase.
Quarries. Five quarries, cut in the nari bedrock, were exposed (17, 67, 68, 70, 72). Medium-sized stones (0.15–0.25 × 0.40–0.60 m) were hewn in Quarry 17 (4 × 14 m; Fig. 5). Lower down from this quarry a burial cave (84a) that dated to the Early Roman period was documented; the quarry may also be ascribed to this period. Quarry 67 (3 × 4 m), which was located on a low terrace above the wadi channel, consisted of two steps where stones were cut (0.25 ×0.40 × 0.90 m). The quarry was severed by an ancient road that dated to the Byzantine period and ascended to Horbat Hadat. It therefore seems that the quarry predated the ancient road and was from the Early Roman period. The large, L-shaped Quarry 68 (length of each side 8. 5 m, max. quarried depth 2.5 m; Fig. 6) had six hewn steps (height 0.15–0.35 m) and circular shallow depressions (diam. 0.12–0.14 m, depth 5 cm), the likes of which (diam. 0.10–0.30 m) were noted in Quarry 70 (2.8 × 3.9 m, average depth of rock-cutting 0.25 m; Figs. 7, 8). A curved meager fieldstone wall (preserved length 1.6 m) was constructed atop the quarry in a later phase. A deep rectangular rock-cutting, which may be a tomb whose quarrying was incomplete, was revealed in Quarry 72 (2 × 3 m; Figs. 9, 10).
Clusters of Cupmarks. Two clusters of cupmarks hewn in bedrock surfaces (62, 70) were exposed. Thirty-one elongated and shallow cupmarks (0.28 × 0.38–0.58 m, depth 0.11–0.35 m) that were arranged in two–three rows were found in Cluster 62. The width of the cupmarks was uniform and it therefore seems they were hewn by the same chisel. Twenty elongated and shallow cupmarks (0.2–0.3 × 0.3–0.4 m) were found in Cluster 70. Based on excavations that were conducted west and north of Horbat Hadat (HA-ESI 117, HA-ESI 119) the elongated cupmarks can be dated to the Chalcolithic period and ascribed to a settlement of this period that was exposed in those excavations.
Crushing Stone of an Oil Press. On the northeastern slope of Horbat Hadat, the bedrock-hewn crushing stone of an oil press (75; diam. 1.8 m, thickness 0.5 m) was cleaned. The quarrying of the stone was incomplete and it was not detached from bedrock, possibly because it had broken.