During October 2002 a trial excavation was conducted at Horbat Devora, in Dabburiya (Permit No. A-3737*; map ref. NIG 2353/7339; OIG 1853/2339), after mechanical equipment damaged ancient rock-cuttings in a bedrock outcrop of nari. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by D. Syon, assisted by Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration) and A. Oshri (photography).
Three elongated parallel hewn troughs, oriented northwest–southeast were exposed. The conditions of the area and the state of the remains indicated that the troughs were damaged in the past, although it cannot be determined if the damage occurred in antiquity or during the modern era.
Three walls of the southwestern trough (width c. 0.6 m, preserved length 1.5 m, depth c. 1.5 m) survived, while its short northwestern wall was missing. The walls and bottom were coated with hydraulic plaster and the trough was void of finds.
The middle trough was divided into two cells by a nari ashlar that was positioned widthwise. The northwestern cell (length c. 1.5 m; preserved height from the bottom c. 0.3 m) was entirely exposed and it evidenced the careless hewing of the trough and its varied width (0.2–0.4 m). Due to safety precautions, the southeastern cell was only partially excavated (length 0.7 m, depth 0.4–1.0 m, width 0.4–0.6 m). Both cells were devoid of finds.
The northeastern trough was partly excavated even though its entire outline had survived (c. 0.4 × 1.8 m). A dressed covering stone was placed across a ledge, running the length of the two long walls. The depth of the trough from the current ground level to the ledge was c. 0.6 m. Fragments of bones were discerned at a depth of c. 0.4 m below the ledge and the excavation was suspended in accordance with instructions from the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The trough was backfilled, precluding any survey or drawing of the remains.
Judging by the remains it can be established that the three troughs were used as cist graves. The division into cells in the middle trough, the plaster in the southwestern trough and their lack of bones indicate that these two troughs were converted to other uses, probably agricultural, after they no longer served as tombs. This type of cist grave was known over a long period of time, from the Persian period until the Late Roman period, hence the troughs cannot be securely dated.