In May 2018, a salvage excavation was carried out on Esther Ha-Malka Street in Modi‘in, north of Horbat Hadat (Permit No. A-8289; map ref. 201349–482/643189–428), prior to the construction of residential buildings. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and financed by A.C. Megurim 38,was directed by I. Jonish (field photography), with the assistance of D. Samin (preliminary inspection), Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), A. Dagot (GPS), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), and Y. Kornfeld and A. ‘Azab.
The excavation took place on the southern slope of the hill north of H
adat (Fig. 1). Three stepped agricultural terraces were exposed, as well as a field wall and a rock-cut burial cave (Fig. 2); these elements were observed on the surface prior to the excavation. The cave was dated to the Early Roman period, based on the pottery finds. Numerous excavations and surveys have taken place in the close vicinity in the past (Onn and Zelinger 2016
; Segal, ‘Ad and Shmueli 2017
; and see bibliography there).
The three retaining walls of the agricultural terraces were uncovered: W101 (c. 30 m long, c. 0.7 m wide), W102 (c. 27 m long, c. 0.6 m wide), and W103 (c. 9.5 m long, c. 0.6 m wide; Figs. 3, 4). The three parallel walls, on a general east–west axis, were built of large fieldstones set on bedrock. They delimit narrow cultivation strips (each c. 2 m wide). Wall 101 and W103 were damaged in the center, and some of the stones had been moved. The continuation of W101 and W102 was visible 5–10 m east of the excavation area.
The field wall (W107; c. 1.8 m exposed length, c. 0.6 m wide) abutted the eastern end of W102, creating a corner (Fig. 5). Wall 107, along an approximate north–south axis, was built of large fieldstones set on the bedrock.
The burial cave was discovered c. 40 m northwest of the terrace walls. The cave (L104; 2.3 × 3.1 m, 2.1 m deep; Figs. 6–8) was not found sealed, and it therefore may have been robbed. A leveled courtyard hewn in front of the cave (L105; 1.5 × 2.3 m), was accessed by three rock-cut steps descending from the south (c. 0.3 m width of tread, c. 0.5 m average height of step; Fig 9). Another rock-cut step descends from the courtyard into the cave. The rock-face walls of the courtyard are vertical and smoothed. A groove for a rolling stone, was hewn in the rock face above the cave opening (see Fig. 8). Many sherds of pottery vessels, dating to the Early Roman period (end first century BCE–early first century CE), were found on the bedrock surface of the courtyard, including kraters (Fig. 10:1, 2), a casserole (Fig. 10:3) and a jar (Fig. 10:4). The cave that was not excavated, will be examined in the future when construction work begins at the site, and the cave roof is removed.
The rock-cut burial cave from the Early Roman period joins similar caves from the same period uncovered in the vicinity of Horbat Hadat. Remains of additional agricultural terraces and field walls have also been surveyed in the area; they were part of the agricultural hinterland of the settlement at Horbat Hadat. In the absence of pottery finds, these elements cannot be dated; however, they may be assumed to date from the Roman or the Byzantine period.
Segal O., ‘Ad U. and Shmueli I. 2017. Modi‘in, Horbat Hadat. HA-ESI 129.