Remains of the Intermediate Bronze Age Settlement. Remains of a building were discovered on a broad chalk outcrop, along a low terrace which slopes east, to a tributary of Nahal Ha-’Ela. The building had two construction phases, stone surfaces, and a small rock-cut pit. The remains were exposed in two clusters, northern and southern, c. 70 m apart. The eastern part of the settlement, next to the tributary, was eroded and destroyed over time.
Remains of a large structure (width c. 3.7 m; Fig. 1) built of fieldstones and founded on the chalk rock, were exposed in the southern cluster. Two construction phases were identified. The outer walls were built in the early phase. The northern and western were preserved to a maximum height of three courses; the southern and eastern did not survive. A partition wall (W147) that divided the interior of the structure was also built in this phase. A round stone-installation (L135; Fig. 2) was constructed south of the building, and a surface of small stones (L129) abutted the installation from the west. A shallow cupmark was hewn north of the building. Pottery sherds from the Intermediate Bronze Age, knapping debitage and basalt pestle, were discovered inside the building, in the stone-installation and between the stones of the surface that abutted it. Two olive pits were also recovered from inside the installation. Fragments of large jars were found next to the northern wall of the building, and they probably indicate activity that was related to storing water. A surface of small stones (L149) was built in the late phase over the partition wall (W147). North of the building another stone surface was constructed, delimited in the west by a wall. A new stone surface (L117) was laid around Installation 135, south of the building. Two copper pins were discovered between its stones. Other stone surfaces, which contained pottery sherds from the Intermediate Bronze Age, were exposed east and south of the building. These surfaces were scattered, and no architectural remains were found next to them.
Two stone surfaces (Fig. 3) were discovered in the northern cluster. They were founded directly on the rock, or on soil fill over it. Pottery dating to the Intermediate Bronze Age was found on the stone surfaces. The assemblage was dominated by jar bases. A pit hewn in the chalk rock (diam. c. 1 m, depth 0.5 m; Fig. 4), which contained burnt material and holemouth cooking vessels was also revealed. The stone surfaces that were discovered were probably used in agricultural activities. Similar surfaces were exposed at other sites in the area, such as Khirbat el-Masud (Nagorsky 2007
), Eshta’ol (Golani and Storchan 2009
) and Khirbat H
asan (Paz 2012
Remains of the Middle Bronze Age IIB Settlement. A single excavation square was opened on a broad terrace higher up the spur, and remains of a building consisting of at least two rooms were discovered (Fig. 5). The building was constructed of limestone, and founded on chalk rock. It was preserved to a height of one course. The bedrock was used as the floor of the building. Fragments of pottery from the MB IIB were discovered in the rooms and between the collapsed stones that were exposed inside them. These ceramic finds included carinated bowls, hand-made cooking pots with a straight wall, wheel-made cooking pots, jars, jugs and a dipper juglet. The remains of the building were overlain with topsoil devoid of any finds.
The first inhabitants of the site preferred to settle on a broad chalk terrace near a tributary of the stream. Two building phases were identified in the settlement remains from the Intermediate Bronze Age, in contrast with the many single-stratum sites of the period. The building phases indicate prolonged rural agricultural activity at the site. The remains of the structure dating to the MB IIB were part of a rural settlement, which was probably part of a network of villages that included, among others, the settlements at Khirbat el-Masud (Nagorsky 2007
) and Khirbat Qeiyafa (Garfinkel, Ganor and Hasel 2012
), and may have been subjected to the fortified city at Tel Azakah. The residents of the Intermediate Bronze Age settlement established the cemetery which was discovered nearby and continued to serve the residents of the MB IIB settlement.