A natural cave, used as a dwelling, was discovered on the middle of the northwestern slope of the hill (10×14 m; Figs. 3, 4; Map of Ma‘anit , Site 20). An open area (L100), part of which was on smooth natural bedrock, was discovered outside the cave. On the northwestern side of the area were collapsed building stones that might have belonged to a wall that delimited the area. The open area was accessed from the northeast via a gentle ascent up natural or built steps. A wall (W147) of medium fieldstones, set one atop the other, was built across the opening of the cave, probably only to half its height, most likely to prevent animals from entering it.
A probe trench was excavated from the cave’s entrance south toward its center (2.5×3.0 m). The surface layer of the cave (L114; thickness 0.2 m) was light brown and contained several late potsherds from the Ottoman period and the modern era, animal bones and a bronze ring (Fig. 5). A layer of white rock (L120) was discovered below Layer 114. The excavation into Layer 120 continued only in the southeastern corner of the probe (1.5×1.5 m; Figs. 3: Section 1-1, 6, 7) and since several layers of soil and ash were discovered beneath it, it became apparent that this was probably part of the cave’s ceiling that had collapsed. One of the soil layers (L122) contained several potsherds, including fragments of cooking pots from the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (third–fourth centuries CE) and a fragment of a jar rim (Fig. 8:1) dating to the first–third centuries CE. Below a tamped whitish level (L131) was light colored soil (L132) with several fieldstones, a fragment of a light brown pinkish jug or flask rim that was not dated (Fig. 8:2) and a lump of flint that had been split by burning The probe was excavated down to bedrock.
A field wall (W148; length 3.5 m; Figs. 9, 10), oriented east–west and preserved a single course high, was built on the bedrock. Its eastern end formed a corner with another field wall (W149; length 2 m). A wide probe trench was excavated in a cluster of stones, c. 10 m southwest of W149, but no pottery was found. The triangulation point whose elevation is 176 m above sea level was exposed 10 m west of W148.
An embankment of small fieldstones that slopes gently from north to south was found. Bedrock was exposed in a probe trench excavated in the middle of the embankment (2.5×7.5 m; Figs. 9, 11) and a small field wall (W128), built on the bedrock and aligned southeast-northwest, was discovered. The bedrock descends from north to south and itdrops precipitously c. 1 m south of W128 into a deep natural depression. Large stones that might be an enclosure wall are resting south of the natural depression. No pottery was discovered.
The western end of a wall built of two rows of stones with a soil fill core; this is probably the continuation of W148 (see Fig. 9). A probe trench was excavated in a shallow and elongated clearance heap northwest of the wall and a meager amount of potsherds was found, including a neck fragment of a black Gaza ware brik drinking jug (sub-type 3) from the Ottoman period (Fig. 8:4; Y. M. Israel 2007. The Black Gaza Ware from the Ottoman Period. Ph.D. dissertation, Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Be’er Sheva) and several jar handles from the Byzantine period.
A very large rock-hewn cistern (diam. of opening 1.48 m, height of shaft 1.65 m; Figs. 12, 13), which is probably the cistern mentioned in the Israel Survey (Map of Ma‘anit , Site 20). It seems that part of the cistern’s upper sides collapsed and the curve of its shoulder cannot be discerned. The cistern was filled with dark brown soil and large fieldstones and was not completely excavated due to technical restrictions. Animal bones were discovered in the cistern but no pottery was found.
A collapsed cave was exposed. The fill contained finds from the Ottoman period, including a fragment of a black Gaza ware brik drinking jug from the Ottoman period (Fig. 8:5).
An elliptical installation located on the northern slope of the hill (depth 1.3 m; Fig. 14). Its upper third was hewn and it tapered toward the bottom. Small fieldstones were placed on the bedrock around the installation. At the bottom of the rock-cutting was a natural cleft that extended to the southeast. Dark brown soil with small fieldstones and devoid of pottery was removed from the installation. It seems that this was a rock-hewn silo or cistern that had never been completed.
During the excavation of the site, it became apparent that this is a natural depression in the bedrock.
An elliptical rock-hewn silo (1.0×1.2 m, depth c. 1.5 m; Figs. 15, 16). The fill in the silo consisted of dark brown soil with several small fieldstones and a few animal bones. Irregular shaped niches were hewn in its western and eastern sides.
A rock-hewn elliptical installation (L141; 1.0×1.2 m, depth c. 1.5 m; Fig. 17). The fill inside it included dark brown soil and several small fieldstones. Half of a round tabun and ash remains were exposed in situ at its bottom (L143; Fig. 18). A probe was excavated in the tabun and the ashes around it, down to the hewn bottom of the installation, and a rock-cut depression, probably utilized to stabilize the base of the tabun’s walls, was discovered. The nature of the installation and the tabun inside it is unclear. Initially, the installation was probably a hewn silo and in a later phase the tabun was placed inside it. Access to the tabun is awkward and it is necessary to bend over into the rock-cutting to reach it. Numerous ribbed potsherds were discovered in the installation’s fill. Fragments of an in-situ krater (L145; Fig. 8:3) that broke on the bedrock surface were found outside the tabun, to its north (Fig. 19), as well as a fragment of a bracelet made of bone and glass decorated with multicolored glass patches (Fig. 20).
The ancient remains discovered on the hill were meager and included caves, rock-hewn installations, a cistern and walls that delimited cultivation plots. One of the caves was used as a dwelling, beginning in the Late Roman or Byzantine period until the modern era. The second cave was badly preserved and its use is unknown. It is also not known when and how the hewn elliptical installations, cistern and enclosure walls were used.