During February 2004 a trial excavation was conducted on the northern slope of Har Nadav (Permit No. A-4102*; map ref. NIG 2294–5/7347–51; OIG 1794–5/2347–51), following plans to construct a residential neighborhood in an area that belongs to the ‘Holy Family Hospital’ and in the wake of exploratory trenches and inspections conducted during October–November 2003, which revealed quarry remains, caves and a rock-hewn cistern. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by M. Hartal and E. Amos, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying) and laborers from Nazareth, Nazerat ‘Illit and Kafr Manda.
The site extends across a steep slope where outcrops of hard nari and qirton are present (Fig. 1). Three areas were opened on the slope, on the western part (Area A), at the top (Area B) and along the lower third (Area C). Masonry stone quarries and two types of qirton quarries for the production of lime were exposed. No diagnostic finds were discovered.
Masonry Stone Quarries
Severance channels were hewn in the nari around the desired stone size, which was then removed by means of a lever. The visible remains of severance channels enabled to reconstruct the sizes of quarried stones. The qirton below the nari was unsuitable for masonry stones and therefore the quarrying was suspended once it was reached.
The Excavated Quarries
|Size of excavation area (m)
||Width of severance channels (cm)
||Size of removed stones (m)
||5 × 6
||0.25 × 0.80 × 0.88; 0.3 × 0.8 × 1.3
||3 × 6
0.30 × 0.53 × 1.30; 0.25 × 0.50 × 1.10
|A section with numerous perforated holes was not quarrried
||3.2 × 7.5
||0.3 × 0.4 × 1.0; Length of other stones: 0.6-0.7
||A bedrock mass containing flint aggregate was not quarried; several non-diagnostic potsherds found
||2.5-4.5 × 8.5
||Of one stone: 7–13; 14 cm deep
||0.3 × 0.6 × 1.5; 0.3 × 1.3 × 1.4 Size of stone: 0.5 × 1.5 (Fig. 2)
||Bedrock was not quarries as it fractured into large masses
||4 × 6
||0.4 × 1.1 × 1.8
||Quarrying remains of one stone; rock-cutting halted in a vein of flint
||2.0 × 2.8
||A hewn channel (0.7 m wide, 0.7 m deep), whose nature is unclear
|C (302–303; Fig. 3)
||5.3 × 11.0
||0.40 × 0.55 × 1.30; 0.4 × 1.1 × 1.2; 0.4 × 1.0 × 1.2; 0.25 × 1.15 × 1.25
||Three layers of quarrying, preserved 1.5 m high
|C (305; Fig. 4)
||6 × 10
||0.25 × 0.65 × 1.00; 0.3 × 0.7 × 1.2; 1.25 × 1.60 × 1.70; 0.2 × 0.7 × 1.4
||Four quarrying layers, preserved 2 m high; one stone not&|
Hewn Cavities in the Soft Qirton
To avoid quarrying through hard nari bedrock, the stonecutters exploited qirton outcrops for quarrying. Sometimes they enlarged natural cavities between the nari and qirton layers. The qirton was apparently intended for use as raw material in the production of lime. Two hewn cavities were excavated in Area C. The first (301; 3.2 × 3.2 m, 1.7 m high; Figs. 7, 8) had two openings, one in the east (1.3 m high, 1.4 m wide) and the other in the south (2 m wide). Signs of rock-cutting were visible on the walls and a few non-diagnostic potsherds were discovered. The second cavity (307; Figs. 9, 10) was exposed in one of the quarries, below a nari layer (1 m thick). This irregular cavern was an enlarged natural cavity (0.4 m high) hewn to a depth of 2.8 m; its entry measured 1.5 m high and 2.8 m wide.
A shaft was sometimes hewn through the nari layer and when the soft qirton was reached the rock-cutting was enlarged circularly, creating a bell-shaped pit. At the southern end of the quarry in Area A, a bell-shaped pit was cut in place of a stone that had been removed (102; Fig. 11). The opening (diam. c. 1 m) was hewn to a depth of 0.25 m through the remaining nari bedrock. When the soft qirton layer was encountered the shaft was enlarged (diam. 3 m, depth of 2.5 m; Fig. 12), showing diagonal quarrying marks. Below the soft qirton rock was a layer of hard and cracked qirton, which was not quarried, but steps of sorts were formed narrowing the pit’s diameter to 1.9 m at its bottom (3.4 m from bedrock surface). The pit was not plastered and was devoid of ancient finds, as well as evidence that it had once held water. The cracked bedrock at the bottom of the pit was unsuitable for storing water. The quarrying of soft bedrock only indicates that the pit was used as a source for raw material in the lime industry. Fragments of qirton accumulated at the bottom of the pit (0.4 m high), overlaid with modern refuse (1.8 m thick).
A bell-shaped pit whose northern half was preserved was excavated in Area C (309; Fig. 13). It was circular (diam. 3.5 m at bottom, 1.7 m deep), with concave walls. The upper opening was not preserved. A rectangular shaft (1.2 m high, 1. m wide) filled with soil was excavated at the eastern end of the pit’s section. Its walls were irregularly hewn, pointing to the beginning of cutting a cavity that was never completed.