In January 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted at the cemetery in the town of Modiʽin (Permit No. A-8169; map ref. 198016–622/648439–545; Fig. 1), prior to expansion of the cemetery. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Modiʽin Economic Development Company, was conducted by E. Oren, assisted by E. Bachar and Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. ʽAzab and I. Kornfeld.
Agricultural Terraces. Five agricultural terraces were identified. Their retaining walls (W10, W19–W22; Figs. 2–4) were built of fieldstones of various sizes, which were placed either on a thin layer of clayey soil that covered the bedrock or directly on the bedrock. Wall 22 abutted W20 from the south.
Basins and Cupmarks
. A rock-hewn rectangular basin (L11; length 0.35 m, width 0.65 m, depth 0.25 m; Fig. 5) was documented on a stone surface; a cupmark (L25; diam. 0.25 m, depth 0.18 m) was hewn adjacent to the basin, to its east. Nearby, to the southwest of these features, was a rock-cut elliptical basin (L12; length 1.1 m, depth 0.3 m). Although the two basins are not connected in any way, they may have been connected via a channel—which has since warn away—as in the system of basins excavated on the west side of the hill (Oren 2019
; Fig. 1: A-7862); some of the basins there were linked via shallow channels, forming part of a water system designed to filter and collect surface runoff along the slope of the hill. Two shallow cupmarks were hewn in the bedrock surface near the basins: one to their southwest (L13; diam. 0.35 m, depth 6 cm), and a smaller one to their southeast (L14; diam. 0.24 m, depth 3 cm); immediately to the north of the latter was a small depression (diam. 0.18 m, depth 2 cm), possibly a sump. The cupmarks probably had several uses, such as crushing cereals and plants, producing olive oil and storing produce.
Animal Pens. Remains of three structures were identified. In two of them (L15—6.7 × 7.0 m; L16—4.0 × 9.2 m; Fig. 6), the foundation courses of three walls built of large and medium-sized fieldstones and placed directly on the bedrock were preserved. In the third (L30), the foundations of only two walls were preserved, and it is therefore impossible to deduce the size of the structure; the foundations were built of variously sized fieldstones. The three structures probably served as animal pens.
These finds are compatible with finds from previous excavations in this area and are probably related to the raising and processing of agricultural produce in the rural hinterland of Horbat Kelah and Horbat Zekharya.