During June 2012, a trial excavation was conducted west of Gush Halav (Permit No. A-6527; map ref. 24156-9/77041-4), after ancient finds were discovered in inspections prior to the construction of a new neighborhood. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by G. Cinamon (photography and drafting), with assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing), O. Zingboym (aerial photography), W. Atrash (scientific guidance) and laborers from Hurfeish and Majd al-Krum.
In the current excavation one square (25 sq m) was opened, and a settlement layer dating to the Hellenistic and Roman periods was exposed. The foundations of two walls (W103, W104; minimum length 1 m; Figs. 2, 3) set on bedrock 0.5 m apart and built of fieldstones were exposed on the northwestern part of the square. The walls were preserved to a height of one course (up to 0.35 m high). A thin accumulation (L101; thickness 0.3 m) of soil, small fieldstones and worn sherds was found above the walls. This layer was overlain with alluvium mixed with modern debris and worn sherds (L100; thickness c. 0.5 m). The rock surface (L102) was exposed in the southern and middle parts of the square. It was covered by an accumulation of light brown soil containing several fragments of roughly hewn building stones and numerous pottery sherds.
The ceramic finds date mainly to the Hellenistic period (fourth–second centuries BCE). They include a delicate bowl made of pale buff colored clay that has an upright rim and a straight side (Fig. 4: 1); fragments of two cooking pots (Fig. 4: 2, 3), found on the bedrock; two carelessly made pithoi, one with a thickened rim (Fig. 4: 4) and the other with a coarse rim that is folded and everted (Fig. 4: 5); and two fragments of Galilean Coarse Ware pithoi (Fig. 4: 6, 7) made of indigenous clay. A jar characteristic of the Roman period, which has an everted rim and a long straight neck, was also found.
The architectural and pottery remains are the first indication of a settlement dating to the Hellenistic and Roman period on Giv‘at Gush Halav. The ceramic assemblage points to domestic activities of cookery and food consumption. The architectural remains probably belong to a building used by farmers, which seem to predates the use of the nearby burial caves.
Michelson M., Salomon Y. and Milner M. 2000. The Jewish Holy Places in the Land of Israel. Tel Aviv (Hebrew).