The region (Firing Zone 109; c. 3 sq km; c. 150 m above sea level) is located on the spurs of the Menashe Heights, east of Qibbuz Regavim and bordering on the northern outskirts of Kafr Qari‘. The indigenous soils of the region are mainly brown Mediterranean forest soil and thin, gray rendzina, both are shallow and deposited on high bedrock. The soil accumulations in the wadi channels are thicker.
Sixty-six of the previously surveyed sites, scattered across seven areas (A–G; Fig. 1), were explored during the excavation, whose purpose was to document remains and gather maximum information about the entire region, which had been severely disrupted by modern activity, cattle grazing and especially, military training.
This area included the site of Horbat Bareqat (c. 60 dunams), a large ruin that was built at the end of a rocky spur, north of Nahal Bareqat. Pottery fragments dating from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Middle Ages were collected during the excavation, as well as in surveys that had previously been conducted in the region. In the vicinity of the ruin, especially to the south and west, many stone clearance heaps were apparent (Fig. 2). Their distribution became denser the closer one approached the ruin and there seemed to be a distinct connection between them and the site. The heaps were circular or elliptical (height 0.2–1.5 m) and their diffusion was not random. They were mainly arranged along the elevation contours at the top of a wadi channel, descending toward Kafr Qari‘. Archaeological probes were conducted in nine of the cairns. Elliptical or rectangular installations (average size 1.5 x 4.5 m), which were enclosed within a perimeter (thickness c. 0.2 m) of different-sized stones, arranged length or widthwise, were exposed below the cairns. Although bedrock in this region is particularly high, the installations were constructed atop a soil fill (thickness 0.2–0.4 m) rather than directly above it. The installations contained a few worn, ribbed potsherds that probably dated to the Byzantine period.
Dozens of stone clearance heaps similar to those in Area A were found, although their distribution was not as dense. Twenty six heaps were excavated and most of them included rectangular installations that resembled, in nature and size, those in Area A. The installations could be divided into several types: the single one, the double type, which consisted of a pair of parallel installations built at an acute (Fig. 3), oblique or right angle to each other, or arranged in a column (Fig. 4). Several heaps were founded directly on bedrock, having no installation below them. A few worn, ribbed potsherds that should probably be dated to the Byzantine period were recovered from the installations, one of which contained a fragment of a glass bracelet. A large heap (diam. 12 m), which differed from the others at the site, was excavated in the northern part of the area. A probe in the center of the cairn revealed an installation built of nari slabs, arranged in a circle on their narrow sides; it contained fragments of pottery vessels from the Roman period. The essence of the installation was unclear.
Six squares were excavated, revealing part of a large enclosure that consisted of walls, built of roughly hewn indigenous stones. The walls, some of which were double ones (Fig. 5), abutted square towers that had an interior circular layout (Figs. 6, 7). A square room (3 × 3 m) with a stone pavement was discovered and to its west, above surface, building remains were discerned.
A wall composed of two rows of stones with a core of small stones was exposed at the eastern end of the area. To the north of the area, a stone heap several hundred meters in length, which probably served as the boundary between agricultural plots, was recorded; the heap extended into Area G, where it was associated with a building.
The area yielded scanty ceramic finds that included a few pottery fragments from the Byzantine period.
Eight squares were excavated. The southwestern side of a building, whose walls (width 1 m) were built of two rows of roughly dressed indigenous stones and were preserved five–six courses high, was exposed. Other architectural remains included a wall (length 3 m, width 0.6 m) and segments of a stone pavement that abutted it. A circular stone-built installation was on the floor. The ceramic finds dated to the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods.
Three locations were excavated; two of them, thought to be cave openings during the survey, were devoid of finds. A sounding in the middle of a large stone clearance heap yielded a large quantity of Iron I potsherds, including collared-rim jars and cooking pots with elongated, triangular rims.
Several concentrations of stones and stone clearance heaps were recorded during the survey. Owing to safety considerations, only one heap was examined (diam. 9 m) and a probe was cut across its center. A curved wall (width 0.4 m) that was probably the northern part of a circular installation (presumed diam. 4 m; Fig. 8) was discovered. The wall was built of roughly dressed indigenous stones. The installation was unclear, may be a silo.
Large concentrations of stones and large quantities of potsherds were discerned on surface. Nine locations, mostly including stone-built walls and abutting floors, were examined. The ceramic finds consisted of jars and bowls, dating to Middle Bronze II, as well as collared-rim jars, handles of jars decorated with reed designs, pithoi and cooking pots from Iron I. A few more pottery fragments dating to the Persian, Hellenistic and Byzantine periods were discovered, and a small amount of flint implements in different stages of preparation. These finds are reminiscent of the buildings and contents revealed at ‘En Haggit (ESI –60).
Beginning from the Middle Bronze Age (and possibly earlier) until the Iron Age and Persian period, settlement was concentrated along the Nahal Hotmit channel (Areas E–G). Most of the remains in these areas included large concentrations of buildings. Areas C and D displayed a different picture; the architectural remains indicated a large enclosure that was apparently a farmstead from the Byzantine period. Areas A and B were characterized by stone clearance heaps that covered rectangular installations of an unclear nature. This is a unique phenomenon known only in the region of the Menashe Hills, where similar installations prevented the collapse of stones from the clearance heaps (Adam Zertal, pers. comm.). The stone heaps in the Regavim Camp were considerably smaller than those surveyed in the Menashe Hills and only future exploration will clarify this matter. Due to the paucity of finds, the dating of the installations to the Byzantine period is doubtful. It seems that most of the settlement moved southeast to the region of Horbat Bareqat during the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Horbat BareqatHorbat Bareqat