Installation F1 was built in a cave, whose opening probably faced west and inside it a wall (W13; Fig. 3) that supported the cave’s ceiling was exposed. The upper part of the installation was built of massive walls (W14, W15; preserved height 2 m) and its lower part was hewn in the bedrock. The installation’s eastern part was damaged and six layers of deposits (L1, L2, L19, L20, L22, L23), separated by accumulations of small stones, were documented in the section. Judging by the ceramic finds recovered from the installation and the caverns associated with it, the entire installation complex and the cave in which it was built should be ascribed to the Early Roman period (see ceramic finds).
Quarry F3. Evidence of rock-cutting and severing square stones was revealed in the quarry. It was possible to identify the quarrying method that was commonly used in antiquity and involved separating channels around a stone in which wet bars were placed to dry that would force the stones to detach from the bedrock (Figs. 4, 5).
Ritual Bath F9 consisted of two elements—an entry corridor and an immersion chamber (Fig. 6). The entry corridor was stepped and only its rock-hewn bottom part was preserved. It seems that its upper part was built and descended from the surface to the southeast, toward the immersion chamber. Two bottom steps survived in the corridor that terminated in a small room (c. 1×1 m), from which one turned 90° to the north, toward the immersion chamber’s opening (opening width 0.6 m, chamber width c. 3 m). Four steps led down from the opening to a bottom immersion basin (L9; width 1.25 m, depth c. 0.75 m). The trapezoidal shape of the immersion chamber (capacity c. 15 cubic meter) was common to ritual baths in the Second Temple period. Its walls were lined with at least four layers of gray hydraulic plaster mixed with ground stone, which was characteristic of the Early Roman period (Fig. 7).
Storage Complex F10 was subterranean and probably a cave. Parts of its southern and eastern sides were preserved to their full height. Remains of three rock-hewn storage spaces were identified in the southern (L8; Fig. 8) and eastern sides (L6, L7). Two round storage pits (L3, L16) were hewn in the floor of the cave; they had round narrow shaft openings sealed with circular stoppers made of indigenous stone. On the basis of pottery finds recovered from inside the pits, the initial use of the storage complex should be ascribed to the Early Roman period, until the year 70 CE. It seems that the residents returned and reused the storage complex and the other installations immediately after the first revolt.
Yehuda Rapuano
The pottery from the excavated area dated almost exclusively to the period succeeding the First Jewish Revolt against the Romans, i.e., the end of the first and the first quarter of the second centuries CE (Fig. 9). The assemblage included bowls (Fig. 9:1–12), cooking pots (Fig. 9:13–15), casseroles (Fig. 9:16, 17), storage jars (Fig. 9:18–24), jugs (Fig. 9:25–29), a juglet (Fig. 9:30) and a lamp (Fig. 9:31). This suggests that the inhabitants of the settlement, who evidently used the miqwe and were likely Jewish, either survived the revolt or returned to the site shortly thereafter.
Earlier material was recovered from only two loci (8, 16); storage jars dating from the late first century BCE to the year 70 CE (Fig. 10:1, 2) were discovered in L8, whereas a storage jar dating from the mid to late first century BCE (Fig. 10:3) was retrieved from L16. It seems that this material represents an earlier use of the site. At some point after the First Revolt, the earlier pottery was swept away and only remained in a few sealed installations or small pockets that were untouched by the general cleaning. A similar situation was found at the oil press in the same area (Permit No. A-5358).
The use of the installations is dated to the end of the first–beginning of second centuries CE. The uniformity of design and chronology and the geographical proximity of the remains from this excavation to the oil press (Permit Nos. A-5316, A-5358), indicate that they all performed together as a single complex. The location of the miqwe was intended for the laborers of the oil press, who needed to cleanse and purify themselves when occupied with the production of olive oil. The produce was stored in the subterranean storage system and Installation F1 probably represents another industrial feature that was probably built into a cave, as was the oil press. This model of placing a miqwe in the area separating between the habitation zone in the west and the industrial and burial zones in the east is well known from other Jewish communities throughout the country.