During May 2002 an archaeological survey was conducted along the planned route of Highway 90, in a section that will by-pass Tel Hazor (License No. G-60/2002*; map ref. NIG 2520–40/7640–72; OIG 2020–40/2640–72). The survey, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Department of Public Works, was carried out by Y. Stepansky, M. Haiman and L. Barda (GPS map).
The planned route was surveyed for an overall distance of 2.3 km and a width of 80–100 m. Surveys and salvage excavations in parts of this area had been conducted in the past (ESI 12:6–8; 14:13–15; 16:19). Twenty five sites of archaeological remains were recorded in the survey (Fig. 1:3, 5–28; Nos. 1 and 2 are survey points, Nos. 4 and 29 are sites that had previously been excavated and released for development). All the sites were connected with the exploitation of the soft limestone bedrock that is characteristic of the area around Tel Hazor and consisted mainly of caves, rock-hewn installations (mostly winepresses), a hewn channel, as well as rock cuttings whose purpose was not ascertained.
On the hill north of Tel Hazor and Nahal Makhberam (map ref. NIG 25290/77035; OIG 20290/27035; spot elevation 205.8 m), in an area that had not been previously surveyed, ten new survey sites were recorded (Nos. 3, 5–13), including two winepresses, three caves whose interiors were not examined, a hewn installation and four rock-cuttings. West of Tel Hazor, in the section of the road that crosses the eastern part of Me‘arot Ha-Deruzim spur (map ref. NIG 2526/7692; OIG 2026/2692), seven sites were surveyed and measured again (Nos. 14–20), among them three winepresses, two caves whose interiors were not inspected, a rock-cutting that could be an entrance to a cave (?) and an east–west hewn channel that was probably an ancient aqueduct, which conveyed water or was meant to carry water to Tel Hazor (‘Atiqot 28:1*–7*). On the spur separating Nahal Hazor from Nahal Qubba‘at, southwest of Tel Hazor (map ref. NIG 25260/76832; OIG 20260/26832), a large winepress (No. 21; 5 × 10 m) that included a treading floor and a collecting vat, which connected to two drainage channels, was surveyed and measured. Two rock-cuttings covered with soil that may also be winepresses were documented to the northeast of the winepress. Farther along the spur, to the west of the winepress, several winepresses and other hewn installations were scattered across an area of 100 × 300 m in the region of natural bedrock surfaces that bordered the western side of the planned route of the road; the installations in this region were not measured. It seems that the numerous winepresses and installations were part of an ancient industrial region that existed on the spur, perhaps contemporary with the large city of Hazor in Middle Bronze Age II. At the end of a spur, near the current route of Highway 90 (map ref. NIG 25320/76745; OIG 20320/26745) three bedrock outcrops that consisted of large crevices covered by thick vegetation were surveyed; caves may be found beneath the undergrowth (Nos. 25–27). A cupmark and a game board, hewn into a natural bedrock outcrop (No. 28), were located nearby.
Slightly south of the planned highway route, c. 100 m north of the lower city’s ramparts, on a terrace in the middle of the slope north of Nahal Makhberam (approximate map ref. NIG 25300/77025; OIG 20300/27025), a concentration of Early Bronze Age IA potsherds that were spread across an area c. 20 × 20 m and included red-slipped fragments coated with a gray burnish, was discovered in 2001. Although it is not clear if these potsherds indicate a settlement or a burial, this is the closest site to Tel Hazor from this period.