In 2006–2012, several days of excavation were conducted in Area B at Horbat Rimmon (Permit Nos. A-4724, A-5009, A-5429, A-5596, A-5823, A-6094, A-6541; central map ref. 18745/58709; Fig. 1). The excavations, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Jewish National Fund, were directed by N.S. Paran in collaboration with S. Talis (2006, 2007 seasons), N. Shaul (2008–2011 seasons) and Y. Abadi-Reiss (2012 season), with the assistance of Y. Al-ʽAmor (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting) and O. Ovadia-Aflalo (director of the Negev Archaeological Center). Children and youth from the country and abroad participated in the excavation as part of the activities of the Negev Archaeological Center.
The excavation uncovered remains of a massive structure (c. 15 × 25 m; Fig. 3), comprising a large courtyard (R3; min. dimensions 5.0 × 8.5 m) and three rooms (R1, R2, R4), which were partially excavated in the past (Paran and Talis 2009
). Most of the walls (W1–W3, W5, W7–W10; width 0.6–0.8 m) were constructed of limestone fieldstones and were preserved to a maximum height of four courses (0.6 m). The building was enclosed on the northwest by a curved retaining wall (W6; length c. 25 m, width c. 0.5 m) built of large stones and preserved to a height of 1–2 courses (0.2–0.7 m). Wall 7, which enclosed the courtyard on the east, was the only wall in the structure with one face, its western face, built of well-dressed ashlars (Fig. 4). The courtyard may have been closed off on the west by a wall (W4), but its identification is still in doubt. The southern boundary of the courtyard has not yet been discovered. A rectangular pillar (W11; 0.5 × 0.8 m, height 0.3 m) exposed in the center of the courtyard was preserved to a height of one course; it seems that it was used to support the courtyard’s roof. It is possible that Room 1 (min. dimensions 3.7 × 6.0 m) was delimited in the west by W4. The room’s northern wall has not been exposed yet. Rooms 2 (3.5 × 3.5 m) and 4 (4.0 × 4.7 m) were uncovered in their entirety, including all of their enclosing walls (W2, W3, W5, W7–W10) and the passage between them, set in W9. During the last season, excavation began in another room (R5), located just to the east of Room 2.
The excavation in the building did not reach the floors neither in of the rooms nor in the courtyard. The artifacts found in the soil fill within the building consisted mainly of ribbed body fragments of Gaza jars and bag-shaped jars. These seem to date the structure to the Late Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE).
Judging by the plan of the building, it was evidently used as a dwelling. Numerous subterranean cave dwellings, each with an open courtyard built around it, are known at the site, although they have not been excavated. We can thus conclude that both subterranean and above surface dwellings were used in the settlement at the site.
Abadi-Reiss Y. and Paran N.S. 2009. H
orbat Rimmon. HA-ESI 121
Kloner A. 1993. Horvat Rimmon. In NEAEHL 4. Pp. 1284–1285.
Paran N.S. and Talis S. 2009. H
orbat Rimmon. HA-ESI 121