In December 2019, a trial excavation was carried out to the north of Abu Ghosh, and just south of Road No. 425 (Permit No. A-8632; map ref. 210924–8/635123–4; Fig. 1), following the discovery of a wall in probe trenches. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Mekorot Company, was directed by C. Shliker, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), O. Rose (plans), S. Halevi (surveying, aerial photography and photogrammetry) and Y. Zelinger (consultation and scientific guidance).
The excavation, located on a hillslope planted with a vineyard, uncovered the wall that was first discovered in the probe. A survey conducted in 2011 at the adjacent site of Khirbat Deir esh-Sheikh, documented walls, farming terraces, agricultural installations, roads, burial caves and a scattering of flint artifacts (Greenwald and Barda 2012
A single excavation square revealed part of the east–west oriented field wall (W103; excavated length 5 m), built of semi-dressed, medium-sized stones (c. 0.3 × 0.4 × 0.5 m) together with small stones, without bonding material (Figs. 2, 3). The wall, preserved for a single course, extended beyond the excavation limits (visible length c. 15 m). The excavation yielded a few worn, non-diagnostic ceramic body sherds.
The wall resembles recent agricultural terrace walls built to retain farming land, and it was probably built by local farmers from the nearby ruined village of Khirbat Deir esh-Sheikh. The practice of viticulture may also have characterized the area in antiquity.
Greenwald R. and Barda L. Abu Ghosh (North), Survey. HA–ESI 124.