The antiquities sites documented in the survey included cupmarks from the Epipalaeolithic period (6); buildings from the Chalcolithic period (7); a long wall (32), round buildings (23) and tumuli (3, 8, 22) from the Intermediate Bronze Age; two Iron Age fortresses (5, 32); a pottery concentration from the Roman and Ottoman periods (12); farmhouses (13, 31) and farming terraces, which were based on run-off agriculture (1, 11, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24–28, 30); a reservoir (2) and a dam (29) from the Byzantine period; a granary (15), architectural remains (14) and an encampment site (12) from the Late Ottoman period and the British Mandate era.
Other sites that cannot be dated were discovered, including a quarry (4), buildings (9, 10, 33, 34) and a long wall that is probably modern (16).
The Horbat Rahba Sector (Fig. 2)
1. Farming Terrace (map ref. 202949/551183). A wall built of a row of large fieldstones (0.5×0. ×0.8 m) in the wadi channel and oriented east–west.
2. Reservoir (map ref. 202666/55177; 7×12 m, height 2 m; Fig. 3; Cohen and Cohen-Amin 2004:19). A reservoir with two channels for diverting rainwater was located c. 150 m north of Horbat Rahba. The southern, western and eastern parts of the reservoir were hewn, whereas its northern part, facing the slope, was a wall (width 0.4 m) built of medium-sized fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.3 m). Debris that was removed from the reservoir at the time it was hewn or cleaned is found on the hillside north of the wall. The two channels that drained the rainwater into the reservoir included an upper channel (width 2 m, depth 0.1 m) and a lower one (width 1 m, depth 0.2 m). The upper channel begins next to the city wall of Horbat Rahba. It descends the slope to the north and is partly dug into the soil of the hill; its eastern side is delimited by a row of medium fieldstones (0.4×0.4×0.8 m). The lower channel parallels the upper one and is several meters below it. It is partially hewn in the bedrock and its northern side is bound by an enclosure wall built of different size fieldstones (Fig. 4).
3. Tumulus (map ref. 202692/551131; 4×5 m, height 1 m; Fig. 5). It is built of different size fieldstones (0.5×0.7×0.8 m) and stone slabs (0.3×1.0×1.0 m) are scattered above and alongside it.
4. Quarry (map ref. 202641/550992; Fig. 6).
5. Horbat Rahba (map ref. 202563/550889) is located on a hilltop, c. 0.5 km south of Dimona. An elliptical casemate fortress from the tenth century BCE and a small fortress from the Roman period were discovered in the excavations (Cohen and Cohen-Amin 2004:13–19).
6. Cupmarks (map ref. 202638/550753; Fig. 7). The site was discovered in 2007 during an antiquities inspection, c. 50 east of the fortress at Horbat Rahba. Conical rock-hewn cupmarks and a scattering of flint tools, characteristic of the Natufian culture, were found at the site.
7. Buildings (map ref. 202501/550944). Five rectangular structures (c. 2.5×3.0 m, max. height 0.5 m; Fig. 8), built of large fieldstones (0.3×0.4×0.7 m) and preserved a single course high. In addition, a scattering of flint implements and sickle blades dating to the Chalcolithic period was discovered at the site.
8. Round Building (map ref. 202222/550565; diam. 4 m, height 0.5 m). The base of the building is built of roughly hewn fieldstones (0.3×0.4 m) and small fieldstones (0.1×0.1×0.1 m) are placed above them. These are probably the remains of a tumulus.
9. Round Building (map ref. 202144/550478; diam. 6 m, height 1 m). The structure is built of small fieldstones (0.1×0.1×0.2 m).
10. Buildings and Installations (map ref. 201918/550425). A six-room structure (each room 5×5 m, height c. 0.5 m), surrounding a central courtyard (6×10 m) and built of medium-sized fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.3 m). Flint tools and non-diagnostic potsherds were scattered in the area of the building. A round building (diam. 5 m), with an elliptical installation adjoined to its south (2.0×2.5 m, height 0.5 m) and built of small fieldstones (0.2×0.2×0.2 m), was located c. 50 m east of the first building.
11. Farming Terraces (central map ref. 201791/550502). A system of east–west farming terraces (width c. 0.7 m) built across the wadi channel. The farming terraces differ in length according to the width of the stream (average length 50 m; Fig. 9). The terraces were preserved two courses high (c. 0.5 m). One side was built of medium fieldstones (0.3×0.4×0.5 m) and the other—of small fieldstones (0.1×0.1×0.1 m). The southern terrace, located on the bank of the stream, was different than the others. It was wider (1.5 m) and built of two rows of medium-sized fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.3 m) with a core of small fieldstones (0.1×0.1×0.1 m).
The Mishor Yeroham Sector (see Fig. 1)
12. Potsherd Scattering, probably an Encampment Site (map ref. 199100/548142; c. 0.5 dunam). The potsherds date to the Roman and Ottoman periods and include fragments of black Gaza ware. Fragments of basalt grindstones were found among the potsherds.
13. Farmhouse (map ref. 198950/549112; c. 1 dunam). Three buildings and a water reservoir were discovered within the framework of the Israel Survey (Map of Yeroham ). The main building is larger than the other two (10×25 m) and consists of a courtyard flanked by two square rooms. The walls (width 0.6–1.0 m, height c. 1 m) are built of roughly hewn fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.4 m). Two smaller rectangular buildings were discovered c. 20 m north and south of the main building. The northern (4×6 m) was partly preserved. The southern building (7×10 m, width of walls c. 0.8 m, height c. 0.5 m) was built of medium fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.5 m) and consisted of three rooms.
An underground reservoir (5×7 m, depth c. 5 m; Fig. 10), built inside a pit, is located c. 40 m west of the main building. Its walls (width 0.8 m) are built of ashlars and coated on both sides with modern plaster, indicating the pool was used in the twentieth century CE. The reservoir was covered with stone arches borne atop three pillars in the inner walls. The reservoir has a square settling pool (2.0×2.5 m) that was meant to filter out the alluvium from the flood waters entering the reservoir. A rectangular trough (0.6×1.2 m), probably a modern addition, was installed on the surface in the southwestern corner of the reservoir. Potsherds dating to the Byzantine period (sixth century CE) were scattered around the site.
14. Concentration of Ashlars (map ref. 198154/547777). Dressed stones (0.3×0.3×0.3 m) that are probably remains of a wall (presumed length 2.5 m, presumed width 0.5 m) were found on the surface. Next to them was a scattering of potsherds from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
15. Granary (map ref. 197543/547488; Fig. 11). A square rock-hewn cavity (c. 5×5 m, min. height 1.5 m). The front of the granary faces east and it has a rectangular opening (0.7×1.3 m) that is built of medium-sized fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.4 m). A hewn column that supported the ceiling is found in the center of the granary. Flint tools and potsherds from the Ottoman period are scattered near the granary. Another granary might be located c. 10 m east of this one.
16. Nahal Yeroham Site (map ref. 196850/548075; a declared antiquities site). A long wall (length c. 80 m, width c. 0.6 m) built of small fieldstones (0.2×0.2×0.2 m) and oriented northeast-southwest. The use of the wall is unclear and it is likely modern.
The Nahal Avnon Sector (Fig. 12)
17. Farming Terraces (map ref. 196230/545671).
18. Two Walls (map ref. 195950/545480; length c. 2 m, width 0.4 m), oriented north–south, which are probably the remains of a building. Remains of farming terraces were found next to the walls.
19. Rectangular Enclosure (map ref. 195915/545472; 10×12 m). It is surrounded by a wall (width c. 0.5 m) built of small fieldstones (0.2×0.2×0.2 m).
20. Farming Terraces and Walls of Buildings (map ref. 196033/545247). A system of farming terraces located in the wadi channel. There may be remains of a farmhouse on the spur just slightly above the wadi channel. The walls of the buildings (width c. 0.4 m), built of medium fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.4 m), are oriented east–west and north–south. Several potsherds are scattered on the surface.
21. Farming Terraces (map ref. 196100/545077). A system of farming terraces built in a wadi channel.
22. Stone Heaps (map ref. 196215/544614). Two heaps of fieldstones (height c. 0.5 m; 0.3×0.3×0.3 m) that are probably remains of tumuli (presumed dimensions 2×2 m).
23. Round Buildings (map ref. 196147/544612). Five round buildings (inner diam. 2 m, width of walls 0.4 m; Fig. 13). A circular enclosure (diam. 9 m) in the eastern part of the site is surrounded by a wall (width c. 1 m) of medium-sized fieldstones (0.2×0.3×0.4 m). Based on the potsherds found at the site it was most likely used in the Intermediate Bronze Age.
24. Farming Terraces (map ref. 196135/544572). A system of farming terraces (width 1 m) built of medium fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.3 m) across a wadi channel.
25. Farming Terraces (map ref. 195754/544524). A system of farming terraces (width 0.4 m) in a wadi channel, built of medium fieldstones (0.2×0.3×0.3 m).
26. Farming Terrace (map ref. 195346/545698; width c. 0.5 m), oriented north–south and built of small stones.
27. Farming Terraces (map ref. 195620/544340). A system of farming terraces (width 0.5 m) built of medium fieldstones (0.2×0.3×0.3 m).
28. Buildings and Field Walls (map ref. 194649/544800). Two rectangular buildings (3.5×4.5 m, width of walls 0.7 m, preserved height c. 0.3 m) built of medium fieldstones (0.2×0.3×0.3 m). Next to the buildings are field walls (width 0.6 m), delineating cultivation plots and built of small and medium fieldstones (0.1×0.1×0.1 m, 0.2×0.2×0.3 m).
29. Wall (map ref. 194635/544474; width 0.9 m). It is built across a wadi channel and was probably a dam. Its two faces consist of large fieldstones (0.5×0.5×0.8 m) with a core of small fieldstones. A concentration of stones that are probably the remains of a building is next to the wall.
30. Farming Terrace (map ref. 194188/544519). Oriented north–south, it was destroyed during earthmoving work.
31. Walls (map ref. 194026/544497; Fig. 14). Remains of a wall and a rectangular room (2.0×2.5 m, width of the walls 0.4 m), built of two rows of medium-sized fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.3 m), were possibly part of a farmhouse. The site was damaged during earthmoving work.
32. Nahal Avnon Fortress (map ref. 194161/544695; a declared antiquities site). A ruin that includes wall remains of a fortress dating to the Iron Age. The eastern and northern boundaries of the ruin were identified in the survey. Its western and southern parts are covered with soil debris in which no ancient remains can be seen. A fairly well-preserved wall (width 1 m), oriented north–south and built of medium-sized fieldstones (0.3×0.3×0.3 m), is discernible. The wall is parallel to the cliff of the wadi channel and it might be the eastern wall of the fortress. Iron Age potsherds are scattered across the surface of the ruin. Remains of another wall (length c. 20 m, width c. 0.4 m, height c. 1.2 m) are discerned in the cliff of the wadi, east of the fortress. It is oriented east–west and built of small fieldstones (0.2×0.2×0.3 m) bonded together with clay-based mortar. Next to the wall is a potsherd scattering from the Intermediate Bronze Age, dating the wall to this period.
33. Scattering of Roughly Hewn Stones (map ref. 194535/544881; size of stones 0.3×0.2×0.3 m). These may be architectural remains. A scattering of non-diagnostic potsherds is located between the stones.
34. Wall (map ref. 194818/544884; length 6 m, width c. 0.5 m). Built of small fieldstones (0.2×0.2×0.2 m), it forms a semicircle that is open to the north. A scattering of non-diagnostic potsherds was noted next to the wall.
The surveyed sites are characteristic of the Negev highlands. The earliest site is located east of Horbat Rahba—a prehistoric site with finds from the Natufian culture, including flint tools and rock-hewn cupmarks (6). A site surveyed west of Horbat Rahba dated to the Chalcolithic period and may have included dwellings (7). Two sites from the Intermediate Bronze Age were surveyed in the sector next to Nahal Avnon: a stone built (32) and round (23) buildings. Tumuli that are customarily ascribed to this period (3, 8, 22) were also discovered in the survey. Two Iron Age fortresses were surveyed at Horbat Rahba (5) and in Nahal Avnon (32). The flourishing of settlements in the Negev highlands during the Byzantine period is reflected in the farmhouses at Mishor Yeroham and Nahal Avnon (13, 31); the farming terraces are indicative of run-off based agriculture (1, 11, 17, 20, 21, 24–28, 30), as well as the reservoir north of Horbat Rahba (2). There us an absence of human activity in the survey area during the Middle Ages. The granary (15) and concentrations of black Gaza ware that were found at the encampment site at Mishor Yeroham (12) are indicative of activity during the Late Ottoman period and the British Mandate era in Mishor Yeroham.