During January 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted at Horbat Naqar (North; Permit No. A-5350; map ref. 199907–47/618868–919), following the discovery of archaeological remains during an antiquities inspection by A. Feder prior to construction east of Moshav Adderet. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Moshav Adderet, was directed by D. ‘Ein Mor, with the assistance of Y. Ohayon (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), N. Zak and M. Kipnis (drafting), C. Hersch (pottery drawing) and T. Winter (glass). Additional help was rendered by D. Amit, A. Nagorsky, A. Feder and the staff of the IAA Judea district.
Hewn and built installations (Nos. 1–5; Fig. 1), scattered over an area of c. 700 sq m on the eastern bend of a gentle spur, descending from (Khirbat Umm Tunis toward the western bank of Nahal Ha-Ella, c. 550 m northwest of Horbat Naqar, were discovered.
Rock-hewn Basins (No. 1; Fig. 2). Three round rock-hewn basins were exposed on a bedrock surface (L104—diam. 0.36 m, depth 0.15 m; L106—diam. 0.5 m, depth 0.4 m, with a barrel-like cross-section; L108—diam. 0.35 m, depth 0.2 m) in the southern part of the excavation area. Basin 104 was hewn inside a natural hollow in the bedrock. The basins may have been used together with a simple winepress (Installation 3), located c. 3.5 m to their north.
Stone Clearance Heaps (Nos. 2, 4). The elliptical-shaped Stone Clearance Heap 2 (3.2×4.6 m; Figs. 3, 4) was excavated c. 5 m northwest of the northernmost basin. A meager field wall (W1; length 14 m, width 0.3–0.7 m), built a single course high, surrounded the heap. An east–west trial trench (L100; 1.2×5.7 m) through the center of the heap was manually excavated down to bedrock level. It became clear that the heap was composed of terra rossa soil, which contained a large amount of small fieldstones mixed with a smaller amount of medium-sized fieldstones. A small quantity of potsherds that dated from the first century BCE and included a jar rim (Fig. 5:4) was found among the stones in the heap.
The poorly preserved Stone Clearance Heap 4 (reconstructed dimensions: 3×5 m; Fig. 6) was located c. 15 m northeast of Heap 2. Its circumferential wall (W2) had survived in sections and was built of one row of large fieldstones. A heap consisting of small and medium fieldstones mixed with terra rossa soil could be discerned on the inside of the wall (L111). Three adjacent natural hollows in the bedrock, which could have been used as cupmarks, were located c. 1 m southeast of the heap.
Winepress (No. 3). A winepress (Figs. 7, 8) was exposed c. 3 m east of Stone Clearance Heap 2. It consisted of a rectangular treading floor (L105; 2.8×3.4 m, depth 0.3 m) that sloped gently to the east. The center part of the eastern side collapsed and it was therefore impossible to discern clearly the channel that conveyed the must into the elliptical collecting vat (L107; 0.8×1.5 m, depth 0.3–0.6 m). It seems that the vat was hewn inside a natural hollow in bedrock. A sump (L102; 0.3×0.5 m, depth 0.15 m) was hewn at the eastern end of the vat. Along the northern side of the treading floor and the collecting vat were three cupmarks, which could be either natural or man-made. Another round cupmark (L101; diam. 0.25 m, depth 0.4 m) was hewn c. 2.3 m east of the collecting vat.
Field Tower (No. 5; outer diam. c. 3 m, inner diam. 1.4 m; Figs. 9, 10). The tower was semi-elliptical and its round end faced the northwest. The tower consisted of a circumferential wall, built of medium and large fieldstones (max. dimensions 0.50×0.60×1.26 m) and preserved four courses high. Some of the wall’s stones were placed vertically and others horizontally. Most of the stones in the bottom course were set directly on bedrock, but small fieldstones were inserted beneath some of them, serving as wedges to stabilize the larger stones. One of the bottom course stones (0.2×0.3×0.6 m) in the northern part of the tower protruded c. 0.55 m inside from the side of the tower; it seems that it was meant for use as a partition. An opening (width 0.45 m) was noted near the tower’s northeastern corner. The bedrock, whose level in the western half of the structure was higher, seems to have served as the floor. A layer of packed terra rossa soil that covered the floor was examined in the eastern part of the tower. It contained potsherds dating to the Early Roman period, including jar fragments (Fig. 5:1–3) and fragments of a glass jug that is characteristic of the first–second centuries CE (Fig. 5:5).
The ceramic finds and the glass jug fragments from the field tower indicate that agricultural activity was apparently conducted in the region during the Roman period. However, in the absence of any clear evidence of a farmstead or a nearby settlement in this period, it is impossible to determine with which settlement this agricultural area was associated.