Three squares (2, 4, 6) were initially opened in a preliminary inspection along the course of the aqueduct and the areas between them were subsequently excavated (Figs. 1, 2).
The aqueduct generally extends in an east–west direction and is built into the gromosol soil, below the present-day surface (depth 0.3–0.4 m). The lower part of the aqueduct (exposed length 21.3 m, width c. 1.3 m, height 0.8 m) was well-preserved. The aqueduct was founded on a thin reddish base (1–2 cm), composed of ground potsherds mixed with lime. A fieldstone foundation bonded with gray lime-based mortar mixed with ash was deposited on the base. Two parallel walls, built in a similar fashion, were constructed on the foundation. These served as the sides of the aqueduct and a channel (preserved width 0.2 m), which was several centimeters narrower at the western end of the excavation, ran between them (Fig. 3). These remains differ from those uncovered in the adjacent excavation. The walls exposed in the latter were built of dressed limestone, a slanted casing and both sides of the aqueduct were coated with plaster. The differences in the construction style of the two aqueduct sections probably reflect the secondary use of building materials that originated from the surrounding area.
The interior surface of the aqueduct’s channel walls was coated with two layers of plaster that perhaps indicate two phases. The first layer (thickness 1–2 cm) was light red and contained quartz, potsherds and shells; travertine (thickness 0.4 cm) had accumulated over this layer. The second application of plaster was grayish white and rendered the conduit a more rounded cross-section; a thin layer of travertine accumulated on this layer as well.
Walls (W5–W8; Fig. 4) that abutted the aqueduct at an angle were exposed in two of the squares. The walls, preserved one foundation course high, were built of partly dressed lime stones (0.3 × 0.4 × 0.4 m) bonded with soil, wadi pebbles and limestone fragments that could be debris from stone dressing. Collapse of lime stones (average size 0.4 × 0.4 m), wadi pebbles and fragments of lime stones (Loci 111, 112; Fig. 2), which probably represented the upper course of the walls, destroyed by cultivation, was exposed near the point where the walls abutted the aqueduct.
Similar walls, whose function is unclear, were not discerned in the previous excavations and it seems that they were built in an attempt to ease the pressure on the aqueduct that was exerted by the gromosol soil. Where the aqueduct was constructed on gromosol soil in the former excavations, it was found that the ground had shifted and caused the walls of the aqueduct channel to collapse inward, particularly where the aqueduct’s covering stones were not preserved.
The Walls South of the Aqueduct
Three squares (9, 11, 13; Fig. 1) were opened in places where walls had been discerned in the preliminary inspection; the walls were found below the surface (depth c. 0.3–0.4 m). The southwestern corner of a building was discovered in Sq 9; the walls (W1, W2) continued to the north and east, beyond the limits of the square (Fig. 5). The continuation of Wall 2 was exposed in Sq 11, c. 6 m east of Sq 9 and in Sq 13, c. 5 m east of Sq 11. It gradually turned from a northwest-southeast direction to an east–west direction and continued eastward beyond the bounds of the excavation. Other sections of W2 were found during the preliminary inspections. The walls, built of carelessly dressed lime stones (0.3 × 0.4 × 0.4 m) and bonded with wadi pebbles, limestone fragments and soil, were preserved to the height of the foundation course, similar to the walls that abutted the aqueduct; this can probably imply the time of their construction. The function of the walls is unclear.
The finds included a number of small worn potsherds that were collected mostly on surface.