Various antiquities were documented in the survey, including caves, field structures, agricultural infrastructures that consisted of animal pens, farming terraces, enclosure walls, stone clearance heaps and cisterns, as well as concentrations of flint implements.
Caves (3). Natural caves that had been enlarged for a variety of purposes were discovered. Quarrying marks were identified in two of the caves and soot was noted on the ceilings. It is difficult to determine clearly the purpose and the time when the caves were modified; however, it can reasonably be assumed that at some point they were used for habitation, for storage or for sheltering sheep and goats. An elliptical opening (height 2.5 m, width 2.0 m), supplemented with modern construction, was observed in one cave (map ref. 227748/748853; c. 100–150 sq m); it had a square hewn opening in its ceiling (in excess of 2 m high) that was also topped by modern construction. Signs of rock-cuttings on the sides of the cave attest to its expansion and two small niches that bear traces of soot indicate their use for lamps.
Field Structures (8). On the southern slope of the eastern spur, at a point where it drops precipitously toward Nahal Yodefat and where it has an excellent vantage point of Har ‘Azmon, the base of a field tower (watchman’s hut?) that has a commanding view of Nahal Yodefat (map ref. 227546/748197) was identified. It is a rectangular massive structure (4.0 × 4.7 m), built of large fieldstones that were founded on the bedrock. Its northern, southern and eastern sides were preserved three–four courses high. No datable finds were discovered in its vicinity. Since it is not connected to the agricultural surroundings documented in the survey and due to its topographic location, it is probably a military structure that was part of the regional defenses around Yodefat. The line of the escarpment had not been completely surveyed and as the survey continued, other similar structures would probably materialize.
Another field structure (length in excess of 1 m), massively constructed from fieldstones and well preserved, is located on the top of the western spur (map ref. 226983/748540) and was surveyed in the past (Aviam 2005:205, Fig. 169).
Four square field-structures (c. 4 × 4 m), situated several dozen meters apart (Fig. 3), were documented c. 150 m to the east, on top of the western spur. The structures, built of medium- sized fieldstones in dry construction, were preserved three–four courses high; however, these could probably also be square stone clearance heaps. The structures overlook the top of the spur to the west, toward a relatively flat area where remains of agricultural activity are apparent. Their density raises questions regarding their purpose (watchman’s huts? storerooms? stone clearance heaps?) and the time of their construction. Between the stones were a few potsherds that dated to the Late Bronze or Iron Ages (3), the Roman–Byzantine periods (most finds), the Middle Ages and the modern era.
Animal Pens (8). The enclosures are small (mostly less than 100 sq m), elliptical or rectangular in shape and built of medium–large fieldstones with a fill of small stones; sometimes, one of their sides is resting against bedrock outcrops. In all likelihood, these were used for herding sheep and goats because their construction does not fit cattle pens, which require more massive enclosure walls. As they are preserved to a height of several courses and their outline remains distinct, it seems that they were built or used in recent times.
Terraces, Enclosures Walls and Stone Clearance Heaps(76). Dozens of terrace stumps and cultivation plots were identified along the top of the western spur and its slopes and fragments of pottery vessels that dated to the Late Roman–Byzantine periods and the Ottoman period–modern era were discerned. On the rocky eastern bend of the spur, which is characterized by bedrock outcrops, the stumps of farming terrace walls were identified; some of the walls stood several courses high, yet their course was not preserved. Dozens of wall segments of cultivation plots and an olive grove, delimited by a stone enclosure wall, were identified along the top of the eastern spur. A cistern (map ref. 227568/748054), numerous farming terraces and stone clearance heaps were discovered on the southern part of the spur, slightly ahead of the steep slope that drops off toward Nahal Yodefat. An extensive system of terraces was also located in the small synclines at the top of the wadis that separate the spurs (Fig. 4). In some instances, a system of several farming terraces is delineated within peripheral plot enclosure walls. The documented farming terraces and agricultural walls were in different states of preservation; some had collapsed and were eroded while others still stood several courses high.
Stone clearance heaps were identified mostly on top of the spurs; some were swept away. The heaps were not arranged in any particular order that is likely to indicate a common agricultural organization.
Cisterns (9). These were located close to the agricultural areas. A relatively dense concentration of cisterns (diam. of opening 0.6–0.7 m, min. depth 3.2–4.7 m) was identified on the slope of the eastern spur, along limestone bedrock descending down to the wadi in the west. Hewn niches were identified in the upper part of the opening in two cisterns; these were probably used to secure a device for drawing water. A broken limestone trough was noted next to one of the cisterns (map ref. 227704/748787). Small bedrock-hewn channels, used to convey the run-off into the cisterns, were discerned in a number of instances.
Water was observed at the bottom of two cisterns (depth c. 0.5 m; documented in June–July 2007); hence these were probably wells. Several dozen meters from one of them (map ref. 227795/748876) was a cave, in which a fig tree, which is probably nourished by this underground water, grows. Quarrying debris was identified next to one of the cisterns (map ref. 227568/748054), which points to its having been hewn recently. The plaster on the sides of the cisterns is not thick and appears to be new; in some cases, the grooves indented by the rope for drawing water are not deep. Capstones affixed with cement were identified on the openings of several of the cisterns, showing that they were used continuously until recently. Hence, the cisterns are probably not ancient, or they were used for a relatively short period of time. Most of the cisterns were open, except for one (diam. of opening c. 1 m, min. depth c. 0.55 m) that was found blocked almost to its top with silt, without a layer of plaster, so that its identification as a cistern is uncertain. It was hewn on a bedrock surface at the top of the western spur; in the middle of an agricultural area that consisted of farming terraces, cultivation plots and stone clearance heaps (map ref. 227031/748640).
Concentrations of Flint Artifacts (3). The spiny burnet ground cover made it difficult to trace the boundaries of the find areas. Two of the concentrations are located next to each other, the first in a silt-rich syncline, prior to its becoming a deeper wadi (map ref. 227677/748870) and the second (map ref. 227807/748912) to its northeast, at the top of the wadi where the thicket is very dense. In view of the topographic data, the location of the artifacts is not likely to reflect primary deposition. The third concentration (map ref. NIG 227807/748599) is located at the top of the eastern spur, inside an olive grove. Noteworthy in the scattering, discovered in the southern part of the grove, is a retouched sickle blade that displays usage gloss and probably dates to the Chalcolithic period (Fig. 5). The finds were meager and non-diagnostic, therefore it is not possible to date the artifacts or assess the sites.
A limestone outcrop on the southern escarpment of the western spur (map ref. 227269/748127) consisted of flint that is similar in color and texture to the flint in the concentrations and may have been the source of the raw material.
The results of the survey show the optimal utilization of the area east of Yodefat, which is manifested by an extensive agricultural infrastructure, which copes with a mountainous area that is not easily cultivated. The finds indicate that the area was used for grazing until the present. For the time being, it is difficult to connect the different sites and date them. If the survey continues, it will likely contribute to understand the region that extends between Yodefat and Horbat Qana, to elucidate the economic-settlement connection between them and to point out settlement patterns in the Yodefat Hills and the Bet Netofa Valley.