During December 2001 and January–February 2002 excavation and conservation work was conducted at Khirbat Din‘ila (Permit No. A-3545*; map ref. NIG 22334–6/77464–6; OIG 17334–6/27464–6; HA 87:11, 89:10–13), preparing the site for public visitation. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by the Jewish National Fund, was directed by A. Thatcher, assisted by M. ‘Ozeri (conservation).
The site, at the top of a spur between Nahal Sarakh and Nahal Galil (northeast of Moshav Goren) in the western Galilee, had previously been surveyed and excavated by R. Frankel (in preparation). This was a small rural settlement that subsisted on agriculture and growing olives. The core of the village was a square compound built in the Roman period and expanded in the Byzantine period. During the middle ages the site was re-inhabited and its ancient buildings and floor levels were renovated; some of its oil extraction plants, however, remained in disuse.
The conservation works included the preparation of a walking path through the village’s ancient alleys, as well as the cleaning, reinforcing and conservation of walls and installations in three olive oil extraction plants that had previously been excavated. The current excavation was conducted together with the conservation work and focused on two of the oil extraction plants (A, C; Fig. 1).
Oil Extraction Plant A. A room was exposed to the east of the wall, in which a beam was set. Its stone-paved floor was incorporated with bedrock. Pottery fragments between the paving stones mostly dated to the Mamluk period, when the oil extraction plant was no longer in use. The room was intentionally filled with soil and small fieldstones and above it a thin wall was erected. Another wall of large roughly hewn stones was used in this period to convert the weight pit into a plastered pool. The two later walls were dismantled.
Oil Extraction Plant C. The southern part of the plant was excavated. A doorway was exposed in the western wall, leading to an alleyway that was probably sealed during the Mamluk period. A millstone was discovered outside the building.