Four of six surveyed sites were excavated. Circular stone installations and rows of well-arrayed stones that were poorly preserved, precluding the evaluation of their character, were exposed. The largest of the installations (F11; 2 × 4 m) was elliptical and founded on bedrock; a wall built of two rows of stones delimited its southern end. Another circular installation was smaller (F10; diam. c. 1.5 m), poorly preserved and also founded on bedrock. A circle of stones (F12; diam. c. 2 m), surrounding an exposed bedrock surface and a similar installation (F13) that was found covered with the collapse of large stones, were discovered.
Areas B, C
The remains in these areas, located south of Area A, were better preserved. Five buildings and four watchman’s huts were excavated.
The most prominent building in the area (F20; 6 × 7 m; Figs. 4, 5) was not completely exposed. The square structure was built of double inner walls (thickness c. 1.8 m) that consisted of large roughly hewn stones and a core of small stones. A stone with a round perforation was discerned in the eastern wall and was probably meant for hitching animals. Alongside the northern wall was a kind of corridor (length 2 m, width 1 m) that led to an exit, blocked by a row of stones. A few potsherds and jar rims from the second century CE were found in the building.
A massive, north–south oriented wall that was preserved three courses high, had survived from a second large structure (F18; length 6 m). A third structure (F23) included built walls in the east and west (width c. 1 m), which were incorporated in the natural bedrock on the southern side; the northern wall was not preserved. The eastern wall (length 9 m, width 1 m) that curved toward the north was all that remained of the fourth building (F16), whose western part was destroyed. A small room (1.0 × 2.5 m) whose walls were founded on bedrock was preserved at the southern end of the building. A fifth round structure (F21; diam. 7 m) was not fully excavated but its plan could be traced. A probe (0.8 × 5.0 m) excavated in its southern part revealed several ribbed and worn potsherds that could not be dated.
Several circular watchmen’s huts were exposed. One watchman’s hut (F24; diam. 6 m; Figs. 6–8), preserved four courses high and founded on bedrock, had a corbelled roof. The walls of an entrance corridor (length 2 m, width 0.7 m) in the southwestern side were built of large stones (max. dimension 0.5 × 0.6 × 1.0 m) and three steps were hewn in its floor.
The other three watchman’s huts (F15, F17, F21) were reasonably well-preserved, but less than F24; all of them were incorporated in retaining walls or farming terraces. Watchman’s Hut 15 was incorporated in a wall (width 2 m) that was partly built and partly bedrock hewn.
Similar structures, which were dated to the Iron Age, based on the small finds they contained, were discovered at El-Ah
110). Yet, in other excavations in the region, they were dated to the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (‘Atiqot
55:83–107, 109–159 [Hebrew]; HA-ESI
110:31*–32*; HA-ESI 120
), and even to the modern era (Z. Ron, The Watchman’s Hut as an Expression of Hilltop Farming in the Mountains of Judea and Samaria
, Tel Aviv, 1976).