In June 2013, a trial excavation was conducted at Tel ‘Agol in the Alon Tavor industrial zone (Permit No. A-6821; map ref. 234311–483/726516–643), prior to development work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Yoram Gadish Infrastructure and Construction Company, Ltd., was directed by E. Bisharat, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), W. Atrash (scientific guidance) and Y. Bibas (photography).
Two segments of a terrace wall (W20; length 120 m, width 3.0–3.3 m) were exposed. The wall comprised two faces constructed of very large, partially dressed, basalt stones founded on the bedrock, with several parallel, stepped rows of small and medium-sized fieldstones between them (L40, L43; Figs. 2, 3); these served to stabilized the construction on the inclined surface. Some of the stones were missing, and others shifted out of alignment, probably due to intensive cultivation. A curved wall (W48; Figs. 4, 5) was uncovered in the western part of the excavation area, adjacent to the northern face of W20. Wall 48 was built of basalt fieldstones, preserved to a height of one course, and could not be dated. It may have been the base of an observation tower that faced north, toward the Nahal Tavor valley.
The economy during the Roman–Byzantine periods was based on agriculture. The growing population made it necessary to maximize the utilization of agricultural areas, not only in the plains and valleys where cultivation was easy, but also in more remote regions, on rocky slopes and in areas with meager water resources. Extensive effort had to be invested in the preparation of new agricultural areas, and there is little doubt that the remains which were exposed in the excavation reflect this endeavor.