Watchtower (Site 112). The watchtower comprised a central, square room (L112) and a rectangular courtyard (L109) to its south. Room 112 was formed by three walls (W100, W105, W106; Fig. 3) built of large boulders. The walls were set directly upon the bedrock or upon small–medium fieldstones, which were placed on the bedrock to level uneven dips. Wall 100 was almost entirely founded along a foundation hewn in the bedrock. Although the southern wall was not preserved, its hewn foundation (W107; Fig. 2: Section 1–1) was clearly discerned. The room’s bedrock floor was mostly leveled, but sloped down in the north. The floor was left unfished in the southeastern corner, where a quarry severance channel, indicating unfinished quarrying, was found. The fill inside the room contained a few pottery sherds of store jars and cooking pots indicative of the Early Roman Period.
Courtyard 109 of the watchtower was enclosed by two parallel walls (W120, W121; Fig. 4) built of large boulders. Wall 107, which separated the courtyard from the room to its north, probably had an entranceway allowing passage between the two.
Excavation west of W121 (L118) uncovered a stone roller (length 1 m, diam. 0.4 m; Fig. 5). Although probably out of context, the roller nevertheless seems to have been contemporaneous with the watchtower. The roller was probably used as a multipurpose tool, and could have been used for either packing earthen floors and roofs or processing agricultural produce.
A simple oil press (Bodedah; Site 112; Fig. 6) was uncovered northwest of the watchtower: two hewn circular vats. The northern vat (diam. 0.5 m, depth 0.4 m) was rounded at the bottom; the southern vat had an upper platform (diam. 0.7 m, depth 0.12 m) with a small circular depression (diam. 0.3 m wide, depth 0.4) on its northern side. On the same rock outcrop, to the east and north of the northern vat, were two additional small, circular cupmarks.
Clearance Heaps (Sites 102, 113, 115). The three stone haps were found to the north of the watchtower. The southernmost heap (Site 102; height 0.6 m) was delimited by a support wall running along an oval-shaped course (W110) and built of a single row of medium-sized stones; in places, the wall was not visible due to overgrowth. A small probe (L111; Fig. 7) excavated at the southernmost end of the heap revealed a fill of small stones that was laid directly on the bedrock. Within the fill were a few pottery shreds, mostly from the Roman–Byzantine periods, with a single rim of an Iron Age bowl.
The next stone heap to the north (Site 113) was similar: its shape was nearly oval, and it was encircled by a wall (W104) built of a single row of medium-sized fieldstones, which were preserved only on the southern side of the heap. A small probe (L114; 2.5 m wide; Fig. 8) dug in the central part of the heap revealed a layer of small cobbles (height 0.3 m) set directly on the bedrock. Although this fill was removed, no dateable finds were found.
The northernmost heap (Site 115) was somewhat similar to the other two: it was circular in plan, built to a height of 0.5 m and was surrounded by a wall (W117) built of a single row of medium-sized fieldstones. The southeastern part of the heap was excavated (L116; Fig. 9), revealing a layer of small stone cobbles with no significant or dateable remains.
Vat (Site 119; Fig. 10). A single circular vat hewn into a large boulder was uncovered to the east of Sites 113 and 115. No clear link cold be identified between the vat and the other remains in the area.
The features uncovered in the excavation are common in the peripheral and agricultural hinterlands of ancient sites in the region. Although the ceramic remains from the watchtower seem to suggest an Early Roman-period date, this cannot be determined with any certainty due to the non-stratified nature of the material. The simple oil press was probably used for household olive-oil production and is comparable to many such sites documented by Dagan (2011
:324, passim). The three stone heaps are just a small sample of the numerous clearance heaps in the immediate region; a very large heap (diam. 7 m, height over 2 m; Fig. 11) lies to the north of the current excavation area. Additionally, numerous terrace walls, mostly built of a single row of boulders, can be found in the immediate vicinity of the excavation areas. The ceramics from all the excavated sites (102, 112, 113, 115, 119) indicate that the major agricultural activity at the site occurred during the Iron Age and the Roman–Byzantine Periods; this fits in with Dagan’s (2010)
survey results. Excavations that focus on the hinterland aid in further understanding agricultural technologies used in ancient times.