Shaft Tomb. Remains of a hewn shaft tomb were uncovered in Area G-100 (Figs. 3, 4). The tomb comprises a round hewn shaft (L112; diam. 1 m, depth 1 m) that is connected in the east to an oval burial chamber (L111; 1.0 × 1.5 m; Fig. 5). The burial chamber’s roof was not preserved; it may have been damaged either during later quarrying activity (see below) or during modern construction. No traces of osteological or material remains were found in the chamber; however, a single store-jar rim indicative of the Middle Bronze Age II uncovered inside the entrance shaft may date the tomb to this period. North of the shaft, although probably unrelated to it, was a round and shallow cupmark (diam. 0.6 m, depth 0.3 m) hewn in the bedrock.
Stone Quarries. Quarry remains were found scattered throughout the excavation area. In Area G-100, immediately to the east and south of the shaft tomb, were angular, mostly shallow carvings in the bedrock and traces of several severance channels (depth 0.2–0.3 m; Figs. 3, 6). The quarrying activity, which likely postdates the usage of the tomb, cannot be attributed to any specific period, since no material remains were found in the excavation area.
Area G-103 yielded remains of a quarry consisting of two separate areas of activity (Fig. 7): a long section of angular carvings that left a depression (depth 0.5 m) in the bedrock in the western part of the area and a rectangular strip (depth 0.4 m) cut in the surrounding leveled bedrock to its east (Fig. 8). No substantial material remains were found in this area, and thus the quarry could not be dated.
In Area G-104 (Fig. 9), the quarry remains were quite widespread; these were probably the continuation of the quarrying activity in Area G-103. The quarry remains in Areas G-102 and G-110 (Fig. 10) comprised numerous angular carvings in the natural bedrock ledge. Areas G-105–G-109 yielded additional isolated quarries. In Area G-105 the remains consisted of multiple shallow severance channels and a shallow circular cupmark (Fig. 11). To its southeast, in Area G-106 (Fig. 12), an additional quarry was uncovered. It is a square-shaped pit cut into the bedrock (depth 0.7 m; Fig. 13). Further south, in Area G-107, quarrying activity left four deep steps in the bedrock (Fig. 14). Further evidence of quarrying activity was noticed to the west, in Areas G-108 (Fig. 15) and G-109 (Fig. 16). The latter was only partially excavated, as it clearly extends southward, beyond the excavation limits.
Terrace walls (W101, W102; Areas G-101, G-110; Figs. 9, 10, 17, 18). The two walls, spaced 20 m apart, were built directly on the bedrock in an identical construction style: two outer-rows of medium-sized fieldstones with a fill of smaller stones in between. A small section was excavated in each of the terrace walls to further examine their construction. No datable finds were uncovered in the stone fill of the walls. Terrace Wall 102 was constructed over the quarries in Areas G-102 and G-110, indicating that it postdates the quarrying activity in this area.
Rock-cut installation. Under W102, which was fully removed following the excavation, was a hewn installation composed of a shallow oval-shaped vat and a larger and deeper oval-shaped plastered pit of unclear function (Fig. 19).
The present excavations near the valley of ‘Emeq Lavan uncovered numerous isolated stone quarries, two terrace walls, a hewn installation and a shaft tomb. The quarrying activity in the area may be directly correlated with the quarrying activity already uncovered in previous excavations in the area (Storchan 2015
). Quarrying for the production of building materials was widespread throughout the site, and was generally shallow in nature. The quarries broadly fit into two types: (a) utilizing the natural ridges in the bedrock, or (b) cutting directly into the bedrock, thus forming pits such as the one in Area G-106. The terraces postdate the quarrying activity at the site, but could not be dated. Terracing of the agricultural lands in the area of ‘Emeq Lavan was used for creating cultivable agricultural platforms (Storchan 2015
Unlike the other excavated features, which cannot be dated, the shaft tomb can be dated to the Middle Bronze Age II. Shaft tombs are well known and an indicative feature of this period’s burial customs. Such tombs were found in many sites across the southern Levant, and usually appear in clusters consisting of numerous tombs. Several burial sites of this type are known in southern Jerusalem, many of them in the vicinity of nearby Refa’im Valley: Giv‘at Massu’a, Malh
a and the Holyland compound (Greenhut, Milevski and Aga 2008
). In this regard, the shaft tomb, the only tomb of its type found to date at ‘Emeq Lavan, is unusual. Indeed, no clear indications of nearby tombs have been identified, suggesting that additional tombs may have been covered or damaged by modern constructions, or possibly even quarried out.