A 50 sq m area was opened in a ravine that descends to the southeast, toward one of the upper tributaries of Nahal Darga, c. 100 m north of a section of the low level aqueduct that was excavated by G. Solimany (Permit No. A-5448). A plastered, rock-hewn water reservoir (L100; c. 300 cu m; Figs. 1, 2) was exposed. The reservoir was composed of two elongated cavities that had a trapezoidal cross-section (Cavity A—3.5×10.5 m, depth 5 m; Fig. 3; Cavity B—3.5×5.5 m, depth 5 m; Fig. 4). The cavities were perpendicular to each other, rendering the installation an L-shape. A hewn gable-shaped section of the ceiling was preserved in the western part of Cavity A; the rest of the ceiling had collapsed in the past. Three layers of plaster (max. thickness 0.13 m) were noted on the walls of the reservoir. The plaster contained lime and charcoal, had a soft texture to it and was a light gray color. The reservoir was found filled to its top with brown and gray colored soil, mixed with stones, pieces of plaster, fragments of pottery vessels, as well as chunks of bedrock from the ceiling. Due to extensive earthmoving work in the vicinity of the reservoir, it was not possible to ascertain if a building or an installation existed next to the reservoir or was attached to it.
The ceramic assemblage from the fill is ascribed to the late Iron Age and the Persian period. Most of the finds were discovered in the upper meter of the fill, which was relatively loose and contained better-preserved potsherds. These included a bowl (Fig. 5:1), a krater (Fig. 5:2), a jar (Fig. 5:3) and holemouth jars (Fig. 5:4, 5) from the late Iron Age, as well as bowls (Fig. 5:6–10), cooking pots (Fig. 5:11–13), one of which (Fig. 5:12) had a handle with an incised mark, a jar (Fig. 5:14), jugs (Fig. 5:15–19), a flask (Fig. 5:20) and a lamp (Fig. 5:21) from the Persian period. In addition to the ceramics artifacts, two worked stone vessels (Fig. 6), apparently used for pounding, were found in the soil fill.
Since it is unknown when the reservoir’s ceiling had collapsed, it is impossible to determine the source of the fill and the finds in the installation. Likewise, it cannot be established when the reservoir was hewn, although its plan and dimensions highly resemble the rectangular cisterns with a trapezoidal cross-section from the Hasmonean and Herodian periods that were discovered in the Judean desert fortresses and in fortified desert settlements in the hill country, such as Horbat Hammam (Narbata), Horbat Kefira, Jabel ‘Urma (D. Amit, J. Patrich and Y. Hirschfeld eds. 2002. The Aqueducts of Israel [JRA Supp. Ser. 46]. Portsmouth. Pp. 413–416 [A. Zertal], 417–422 [D. Amit and H. Eshel], 423–426 [H. Eshel and Z.H. Ehrlich]) and Ras Tammim (Zissu B. and Kloner A. 2009. Water Reservoirs in Ras Tammim, East of Jerusalem. In J. Geiger, H.M. Cotton and G.D. Stiebel eds. Israel's Land: Papers Presented to Israel Shatzman on his Jubille. Ra‘anana. Pp. 99–113 [Hebrew]). If this, indeed, reflects the time of the reservoir’s construction, then it was probably blocked with fill that was brought from a nearby ancient site. However, it is possible that the pottery fragments in the fill indicate that the reservoir is older and was no longer in use during the Persian period.