In April 2020, a community educational excavation was conducted at Horbat Tittora (Permit No. A-8736; map ref. 202453–79/645405–2; Fig. 1). The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Modi‘in Municipality and the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by N. Shachar, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), O. Danziger (field preparation), V. Bosidan, A. Acksman, M. Ben Yaakov, T. Shabi, H. Mizrahi, A. Amit and Z. Kirchner (IAA Community Outreach Department), S. Emanuelov (surveying), I. Jonish (field photography), Y. Tepper (scientific guidance) and A. ‘Azab. School children from the city of Modi‘in participated in the excavation.
The excavation was conducted on the eastern slope of a hill on whose summit Horbat Tittora is located; a quarry and rock-cuttings were discovered. A survey conducted in the region documented about 400 archaeological features, including caves, cisterns, agricultural terraces, roads and rock-hewn installations (License No. S-759/2017; A. Tendler, pers. comm.). A previous excavation on the tell, c. 350 m west of the current excavation, uncovered the remains of a Crusader tower as well as finds attesting to the site’s settlement during the Mamluk period (Permit No. A-7949; A. Tendler, pers. comm.).
A quarry with two quarrying levels was exposed. In the south (L501), cutting marks of blocks over one meter long were identified. An undetached stone (L508; 0.3 × 0.6 m) was also found in situ. Two rounded cuttings (L504, L505; diam. 0.25–0.45 m) were identified, as well as round holes (diam. up to 0.05 m) that may have held wooden posts. A cupmark (L506; diam. 0.1 m) was found north of the quarry and a cistern (L507; not excavated) was located to its south.
The quarry was covered with accumulations (L502) composed of brown clayey soil mixed with items that had been swept in: stones and river pebbles, industrial tesserae, potsherds, glass sherds, flint items and fragments of basalt grinding stones. The finds include pottery oil lamps and glass bottles (not drawn) dating from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. An Ottoman glass bracelet was also retrieved.
The meager finds from the excavation preclude detailed analysis. Nevertheless, the quarrying marks attest to the extraction of large stones, suggesting that they were used to build the lower courses of the Crusader tower on the summit of the tell, whose base dates to the Roman–Byzantine periods (Gudovitz and Feldstein 1998). The rounded cuttings may indicate that before the quarry was worked, basins were hewn at the site and possibly also a winepress or some other agricultural installation. The Ottoman finds from the quarry and evidence from installations identified in earlier surveys and excavations attest to the presence of a village on top of the tell in the Ottoman period, yet they cannot be used to date the quarry itself.
Gudovitz S. and Feldstein A. 1998. Horbat Tittora. ESI 18:79–81.