The excavation area, laying between the western slopes of the Samaria foothills and east of the “trough” in the Sharon Plain, is located within the ancient site of Khirbat Majdal (Khirbat Sheikh Musharaf). Excavations conducted in 1989–1993 to the north, west and south of the current excavation area revealed a synagogue that was converted into a church in a later phase, a residential building, ritual baths (miqva’ot
-type burial caves, a hiding refuge and a bathhouse dating to the second–fifth centuries CE (Ayalon, Neidinger and Matthews 1991
). In excavations carried out in 2008 and 2010, a dwelling with two separate strata dating to the Early and Late Roman periods was exposed, as well as a winepress and oil press from the Byzantine period and stone quarries (Torge 2009
; Permit No. A-5909). In 2010, an excavation (Permit No. A-6074) was conducted, in which ancient sealed tombs and later tombs inside a building, probably a mausoleum, as well as stone quarries were revealed. An ashlar-built cultic structure with an apse in its southern wall, dating to the Late Roman period, was also exposed.
One square was opened in the current excavation area, where ancient remains were damaged. A medium-sized step quarry with a small courtyard quarry in its center was exposed (Fig. 2).
A section of a quarry that was uncovered extended east and west, beyond the limits of the excavation. Three quarrying steps were found (L100; Fig. 3). Signs of stone dressing and severance channels (width 11 cm) were visible on the bedrock walls. The quarrying steps made it possible for the quarrymen to reach almost all parts of the stone that was being hewn. The negatives of two stones that had been detached from the bedrock (L101; 0.3 × 0.5 m, height 0.3 m; Fig. 4) could be discerned on the quarry’s lowest step. An ashlar stone that remains undetached from bedrock was preserved on the eastern side of the quarry; signs of stone dressing surrounded it (L102; 0.5 × 0.5 m, height 0.3 m).
This quarry is an addition to the numerous quarries documented and excavated (Permit Nos. A-5435, A-5909) to the west, southwest and northwest of the excavation area. The quarries to the southwest and northwest were deeper than the one discussed here; that is to say, more building stones were removed from them. A meager amount of pottery sherds was found that had been swept into the quarry, possibly from nearby sites; they are of no assistance in dating it.