During February 2010, a trial excavation was conducted west of Horbat Hermesh, along the western slopes of the antiquities site at Trigonometric Point N-558 (Permit No. A-5849; map ref. 20474–94/72657–83), prior to development. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by A. Masarwa (field photography), with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), R. Mishayev and Y. Nemichnitzer (surveying and drafting), A. Gorzalczany (scientific guidance) and A. Sa‘id and K. Sa‘id (IAA Haifa district).
The excavation was located at an antiquities site to the west of Horbat Hermesh (Map of Dalia : Site 52), on the southern slopes of the Mount Carmel ridge and c. 2 km west of the Elyaqim interchange. Agricultural installations, tumuli, farming terraces and a winepress dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods, were identified in a previous survey of the site (Permit No. A-5200). Remains of a farming terrace and a watchman’s hut were exposed in the excavation.
A farming terrace wall (W10; min. length 18.5 m, width 0.9 m, preserved height 1.3 m; Figs. 1, 2), oriented northwest-southeast, was exposed in the south. The wall, founded on the bedrock and built of fieldstones (0.15 × 0.15 × 0.20 m), had brown soil fills between the stones that contained fragments of storage jars from the Roman period.
A rectangular watchman’s hut (2 × 4 m, preserved height 1.15 m; Fig. 3) was exposed c. 30 m north of the farming terrace. The walls (width 1 m) were built of dry construction utilizing large roughly hewn stones (0.35 × 0.70 × 0.80 m) that were founded on the bedrock. The entrance (width 1 m) was exposed in the west. The floor was built of smooth flagstones (Fig. 4). The ceramic artifacts included fragments of storage jars from the Roman period.
An enclosed courtyard (L103) was built to the east and next to the watchman’s hut; the leveled bedrock was used as its floor. The walls of the courtyard were built of dry construction utilizing indigenous fieldstones (0.3 × 0.4 × 0.5 m) that were placed on the ground and were preserved a single course high. An opening (width 1 m) that led to the courtyard was discovered in the corner formed by Walls 14 and 15. Potsherds that included fragments of storage jars from the Roman period overlaid the courtyard’s floor.
It seems that the site, whose state of preservation is mediocre, served as the agricultural hinterland of a settlement from the Roman period that existed in the region.