F-211: The surface survey and subsequent excavations identified numerous rock-cuttings and severance channels for the quarrying of ashlars, in addition to several rock-cut cupmarks, all concentrated on and around a large bedrock outcrop (Fig. 2). A layer of rock chips that apparently represents quarry waste was exposed in one locale, within a large depression in the bedrock that was bounded on the south and east by a hewn cliff, preserved to nearly 1 m high. This depression may have been a collapsed natural cave that was later exploited for the quarrying of stones.
A hewn entrance to a burial cave, accessed by four bedrock-hewn steps, was revealed in the northwestern portion of the building lot. A hewn square-shaped passage into the cave was blocked by a boulder surrounded by medium-sized stones (Fig. 3). Numerous potsherds of smashed store jars, associated with the Persian or Hellenistic periods (Fig. 4), were found at the base of the entrance pier, directly underneath the blocking stone. The blockage of the cave appears to indicate its reuse during that period or afterward.
Following the current excavation, mechanical trenching carried out in the building lot immediately to the northwest (Lot 210, see Fig. 1) revealed a large amount of intact ceramic vessels, including bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), storage jars (Fig. 5:3–7), juglets (Fig. 5:8, 9) and a lamp (Fig. 5:10), apparently dateable to the Hellenistic period. This area, suspected to contain tomb deposits, was not excavated.
F-224: The surface survey and subsequent excavations identified numerous rock-cuttings and severance channels, as well as several rock-cut cupmarks that concentrated on and around a large bedrock outcrop (Figs. 6, 7). A rock-cut burial cave, whose entrance is gained by three rock-hewn steps, was also revealed. The cave was looted in antiquity, yet remains of a rounded frame for a rolling stone were observed on the western side of the pier (Fig. 8). The fill within the cave was not excavated.
: The surface survey identified rock cuttings and severance channels on the exposed bedrock outcrop (Fig. 9), as well as two roughly parallel lines of large boulders that were observed upon the modern ground. Excavation between these wall lines indicated they have functioned as terrace walls, preserved a single course and set upon the bedrock or on a fill within the bedrock hollows (Fig.
10). The fill was composed of numerous small and medium-sized stones within a dark brown earth matrix that contained large amounts of potsherds, including hemispherical bowls (Fig. 11:1), V–shaped bowls (Fig. 11:2), often with impressed rope decoration upon their rim (Fig. 11:3, 4), holemouth jars (Fig. 11:5), storage jars with out-turned rim (Fig. 11:6–8) and thumb-indented ledge handles (Fig. 11:9), all apparently originating from the nearby Chalcolithic and Early Bronze IB site (HA-ESI 122
F-236: A hewn cupmark was identified upon a large bedrock outcrop (Fig. 12).
The present excavation is a part of a larger project aimed at documenting the archaeological remains within a building development. All the exposed features appear to be located outside the main settlement area, portions of which were sounded in previous excavations. The quarrying activities and the burial caves should probably to be associated with the site of Kh. El-Meisiya itself, located immediately to the northwest. These were all identified in the upper portions of the bedrock, indicating that past exploitation of bedrock for quarrying had primarily concentrated on exposed outcrops.
In the aftermath of the present excavation, a complete limestone ossuary was handed over to representatives of the IAA. The ossuary, alleged to have been found in an open field near the present excavations, was apparently abandoned by tomb looters. The ossuary is published here, although it did not originate from a legal excavation. The ossuary (length 0.6 m, width 0.24 m, height 0.29 m) is made of soft limestone. Four rough stubs are found at the corners of its base, functioning as legs. The ossuary was covered with a limestone lid, having a plano-convex section. One of the ossuary’s broad sides (Fig. 13) is painted red over an incised decoration, consisting of 6-petaled rosettes within double circles; the inner circle has an ornate zigzag pattern, which also fills the frame along the margins of this side.
The other sides and the lid were roughly finished, exhibiting chisel marks and a band decoration of vertical, horizontal and diagonal. A limited amount of osteological remains in a very crumbly state was found within the ossuary, along with a small cooking pot (Fig. 14). On the basis of the decorative style and the cooking pot found within it, the ossuary should probably be dated to the Early Roman (Second Temple) period.