In April 2015 and February 2017, archaeological excavations were conducted at the site of the ancient synagogue at Horbat Parva (License Nos. G-31/2015, G-47/2017; map ref. 24657/70758) as part of an educational project. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s ‘Partnership Together’ program and financed by the Jewish Agency, was directed by A. Kohn-Tavor (field photography). F. Vitto provided scientific assistance. Seventh-grade students from Shaked High School participated in the excavation.
Six excavation squares were opened along the southern perimeter of the synagogue, south of the bema that projects above the surface, following the network of excavation squares laid out by Vitto (1980)
. The excavation yielded the remains of two buildings and an alley that separated them from the synagogue to their north. Part of the corner of one building was exposed, with abutting occupation levels which probably belong to the alley. The top of a wall of a second building built parallel to the south wall of the synagogue was exposed to the east of the corner; the continuation of the alley was detected to the north of the wall. Part of a room (Fig. 1) was exposed south of the wall. It contained a large quantity of Byzantine-period pottery, which accumulated in the building after it was abandoned. A ‘northern storage type jar’ was found in situ
(Fig. 2) on a tamped-earth floor beside the wall. A small Corinthian capital in secondary use was incorporated in the floor. The base of an inner wall, whose upper part was removed, was also identified, attesting to alterations to the building. On the surface to the southeast of the synagogue were Byzantine- and Mamluk-period pottery, including sugar vessels that may be associated with the sugar mill found at H
av, southeast of Horbat Parva
A probe to the northeast of the synagogue, re-exposed at 0.6 m below the surface the top of a wall which was originally identified by Vitto as the eastern wall of the synagogue’s narthex. Further to the north, a high-quality pillar base was incorporated in the wall.
The date of the finds, consisting mainly of potsherds along with a few glass vessels and coins, is compatible with the date established by Vitto for the synagogue’s abandonment—the late seventh century CE. Apart from some indications of limited activity in the Mamluk period, no remains from other periods were found, not even from the modern village of Farwana. The modern layer may have been removed by mechanical equipment prior to the excavation.