In November 2019, a large heap of stones was excavated at Giv‘ot ‘Eden (Permit No. A-8609; map ref. 201380–757/618426–796; Fig. 1), prior to the settlement’s development. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the developer, Gili Khoury, was directed by J. Tiano (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi (administration), S. Halevi (photogrammetric documentation) and A. Rose (plans and photogrammetric documentation).
The present excavation was conducted in anticipation of construction work at Giv‘ot ‘Eden. It was preceded by development surveys (Nagorsky 2008; 2010
) and trial excavations (Herriott 2012) that, among other things, probed the stone heap reported here (Nagorsky 2008: Site 96; Permit No. A-8471; Fig. 2). The stone heap is located c. 500 m east of the streambed of Naḥal Ha-Ela—an area of rocky outcrops in sprawling alluvial expanses. Throughout history, the region was used for agricultural purposes by local settlements, including Kh. ed-Deir, Ḥorbat Buẓ, Ḥorbat ‘Illit and Ḥorbat ‘Orva. Recently, an excavation was conducted at Ḥorbat ‘Orva (Permit No. A-8682). The entire region was surveyed in the Surif map (Map 108).
The excavation revealed a circular stone heap (c. 13 × 18 m; Figs. 3, 4). It was composed of small fieldstones, some of them burnt, interspersed with potsherds (Fig. 5). The stones were deposited on an accumulation of dark brown soil (L708) that overlayed the rock. A wall (W701; Fig. 6) enclosed most of the stone heap; it was built of large fieldstones, some of which were dressed, and it stood two–three courses high. While the stone heap had a circular plan, its northern face was straight. Here, the enclosing wall (W701) was built of large dressed fieldstones and was preserved to a height of three courses. It superimposed a plain rock-hewn winepress (found in the previous excavation) that consisted of a treading floor (L703; c. 2.0 × 2.5 m) and a collecting vat (L704; 1.0 × 1.4 m, depth 0.8 m). Two rock-hewn cupmarks (Fig. 7) on the southeastern side of the rock surface may be associated with the winepress.
Altogether, three phases were detected: first, the winepress was hewn; next, the enclosing wall (W701) was built over the winepress; and lastly, the stone heap was made.
The pottery assemblage from the stone heap and the soil accumulation below includes typical local Iron Age IIA–C wares that are well-known from adjacent sites in the Judean Shephelah. The assemblage consist of Iron Age IIA red-slipped and horizontally hand-burnished bowls with straight or everted walls and a thickened everted rim (Fig. 8:1, 2), an Iron Age IIB bowl with a thickened incurved rim (Fig. 8:3), an Iron Age IIB hemispheric bowl with an inverted rim (Fig. 8:4), a foot of an Iron Age IIB chalice/goblet with a thickened everted rim (Fig. 8:5), an Iron Age IIC jug with a thickened straight rim (Fig. 8:6), and an Iron Age IIC juglet with a simple straight rim (Fig. 8:7). The pottery assemblage is characteristic of Iron Age farming communities. However, since it was collected from unsealed loci, it cannot be used to date the stone heap.
Herriott C. 2012. Salvage Excavation of Two Wineries at Khirbet Butz – 2010. NGSBA Archaeology 1:117–124.
Nagorsky A. 2008. Rogelit (South), Survey. HA-ESI 120.
Nagorsky A. 2010. Khirbat al-Maq‘ura, Survey. HA-ESI 122.