The site was first identified in a survey (Zori 1962
:191) in which sherds ascribed to the Middle Bronze Age II and the Roman and Byzantine periods were gathered on the surface, and sarcophagus remains from the Roman period were documented nearby. Previous excavations at the site uncovered the following antiquities: the remains of an MB II village and sarcophagi from the Roman period (Atrash and Golani 2016
[A-3958: Fig. 1]), remains of a farmstead, a Samaritan synagogue from the Byzantine period, a system of dams and rock-hewn channels from the Roman and Byzantine periods (Permit Nos. A-5984, A-6687, A-7277), and remains of a road, a mausoleum and quarries, all from the Roman period (Atrash 2010
[A-4832: Fig. 1]).
. A building-stone quarry (L8, L15) in travertine bedrock that is characteristic of the region was discovered in the northern and southern parts of the area. A leveled strip of travertine bedrock in which there was a quarrying step was exposed in the southern part of the area. The chisel marks of two stones that had been detached from the quarrying step (0.4 × 0.7 × 0.9–1.3 m; Fig. 3) were clearly visible. Another leveled strip of travertine bedrock having a quarrying step was revealed in the northern part of the area. No datable finds were discovered in the quarry; however, comparison with a quarry discovered in the southern part of the site (Atrash 2010
) and analysis of the construction layers at the site seem to indicate dates in the Roman period.
Stratum II. A round lime kiln (diam. 3.1 m, depth 2.4 m; Fig. 4) hewn in travertine bedrock was found. Next to the bedrock side of the kiln was a circumferential wall (W9). The outer part of W9, which faced the inside of the kiln, was built of bricks and small and medium-sized coarsely dressed limestones, while the inside of W9, next to the bedrock, was built of small fieldstones and fragments of bricks bonded with pinkish-orange mortar. The bottom outer part of W9 was lined with a thin layer of bricks; the remains of light gray, almost white-colored plaster containing grog were discovered on the layer of bricks. A broad circumferential wall (W4; max. width 1.5 m) was built on the rock surface around W9. Three pillars (W3, W11, W14) were found abutting W4. Wall 4 and the three pillars were of dry construction, using large limestone, travertine and basalt fieldstones with a soil fill in between, mixed with limestone and travertine; the walls were preserved to a height of one course. A step (W26; width 0.34–0.49 m, height 0.15–0.25 m; Fig. 5) that served as a foundation for W9 was hewn on the bottom of the kiln, near it. The bottom of the kiln (L27) and the rock-hewn step (W26) were plastered with light gray plaster mixed with orange and yellow grog. A thin layer of ash (L25; 2–3 cm) was found on the bottom of the kiln and above this layer was an accumulation of loose gray soil (L24). Above that were collapsed basalt building stones, small fieldstones and gray-brown and buff-brown bricks bearing traces of plaster (L10; Fig. 6); many of the bricks in the collapse were trapezoidal in shape. Apparently, the collapse was the result of the upper part of the kiln having toppled over. Several pottery sherds and glass fragments from the Byzantine period were found in the layers of rubble.
Stratum I. Four pit graves were discovered, three of them (T1–T3) above the walls of the kiln and the fourth (T4) in the northern part of the excavation’s western balk. They were not excavated. The graves, like the upper part of the kiln, were covered with loose gray soil that contained lumps of travertine (L1, L6). This soil yielded a few fragments of pottery and glass vessels from the late Byzantine period and a coin from the second half of the fourth century CE (IAA 142080). It seems that after use of the lime kiln ceased, its upper part was dismantled in the late Byzantine period and the area was used for burial.