During October 1997 a salvage excavation was conducted along the northern slopes of Giv‘at Tittora (License No. B-135/1997; map ref. 202425/645705; Fig. 1), after archaeological remains were identified while digging a trench for the installation of cables. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev and underwritten by the Gvanim Company, was directed by I. Akus, with the assistance of P. Kaminsky (surveying and drafting), Y. Yekutieli (consultation) and O Shalev (assistance in preparing for publication).
The northern slopes of Horbat Tittora descend into a small local valley filled with alluvium. Three squares were opened on both sides of the area that had been damaged by the cable trench (Fig. 2). The architectural finds at the site consisted of a wide wall, probably a dam that formed a farming terrace.
A section of a wall (length c. 8 m, width c. 2 m, height c. 1 m), aligned north-northwest–south-southeast, was exposed. It was dry built and its two faces consisted of large, slightly dressed stones (0.4×0. 8 m), with a core of stone clearance. The stone clearance in the bottom part of the core was quite large and the stones higher up were smaller (Fig. 2: Section 1-1). The wall was preserved to a maximum of three courses high (1.18 m; Fig. 2: Section 2-2).
The base of the wall in the north was 0.4 m lower than the base in the south, probably due to soil erosion. Numerous tightly packed small stones mixed with alluvium were exposed west of the wall in Square D1. It seems that they had accumulated because the wall was built along the course of the run-off that flowed from west to east and it blocked the soil and small stones that were swept along by the water flow.
The location of the wall in the valley’s agricultural area, west of the Horbat Tittora settlement, the absence of any floor that abutted it or other buildings in its immediate vicinity, and the analysis of the accumulation alongside the wall indicate that it was a dam, which prevented soil erosion and formed a farming terrace that could be easily cultivated and was filled with silt. The finds near the wall included very small, worn potsherds that were swept from Horbat Tittora above, dating to the periods that are represented at Horbat Tittora (ESI 20:69*–75*). Thus, it is difficult to determine the date of the terrace based on the finds; however, it has parallels at other sites in the vicinity, which were dated to the Byzantine period (e.g., Khirbat Umm el-‘Umdan, HA-ESI 121
) and therefore, it should reasonably be dated it to this period.