During March–April 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted at Moshav Ha-Bonim (Permit No. A-5409; map ref. 194067–95/727030–45), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the developer, was directed by A. Masarwa (photography), with the assistance of the late S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), E.J. Stern (pottery reading), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), D.T. Ariel (numismatics) and M. Peilstöcker (guidance).
Two excavation squares (50 sq m; Fig. 1) were opened 27 m west of the fortress.Remains of an architectural complex from the Crusader period and a building from the Ottoman period were exposed.
Two construction phases were ascribed to the Crusader period. A water reservoir (L801; Fig. 2) was installed in the first phase. Its bottom was built of dressed kurkar stones (0.20×0.45×0.45 m) that were set on bedrock, which was intentionally leveled for this purpose.Most of the water reservoir extended beyond the limits of the excavation area; however, two walls (W81, W82; preserved height 1.3 m) that delimited its northeastern corner were exposed.The floor of the reservoir, which abutted the two walls, and the inner face of the walls were coated with reddish pink plaster mixed with potsherds; gray mortar was applied to the exterior face of the walls.The ceramic finds recovered from the accumulation above the reservoir’s floor included bowls (Fig. 3:1, 2), dating to the Crusader period.
A wall (W83; preserved height 0.8 m; Fig. 4) that divided the water reservoir from north to south and was founded directly on its plaster floor was constructed in the second phase.The wall, built of dressed kurkar stones; was not plastered, indicating that the reservoir e was used for a different purpose in this phase.The wall delimited a narrow room (L803; width 1.5 m) located to the west.
Remains of another building, to the northeast of the reservoir, were ascribed to this phase. Its three walls (W85–W87; Fig. 5), built of dressed kurkar stones (0.3×0.4×0.8 m), were preserved two courses highandtheir orientation coincided with the axis of the reservoir structure.The walls probably delimited two rooms (L851, L854), whose floors were not exposed.The ceramic finds from the fill in these rooms included bowls (Fig. 3:3), cooking pots (Fig. 3:4) and jars (Fig. 3:5) from the Crusader period.
A wall that dated to the Ottoman period (W84) was revealed. It apparently was part of a structure that preserved the orientation of the buildings from the former period. The wall, preserved a single course high, was built of dressed kurkar stones. A coin dating to the reign of Sultan Mahmud II and minted in Constantiniya (1242 AH, 1826 CE) was recovered from the fill in between the stones of the wall.The potsherds found in this fill and in the one west of the wall (L852; a room?) included bowls (Fig. 6:1), cooking pots (Fig. 6:2), a jug (Fig. 6:3) and jars (Fig. 6:4) from the Ottoman period.