Areas A (map ref. 215736–42/628054–9) and B (map ref. 215757–66/628079–88). Mechanical trenching in these areas identified an abundance of potsherds coupled with a scatter of fieldstones. A single excavation square (4×4 m) was opened in Area A and two squares (5×5 m) were opened in Area B. After removal of the topsoil cover in both areas, a layer of jumbled fieldstones and potsherds was uncovered just above the limestone bedrock. The stones and potsherds were determined to have been not in-situ, but deposited due to water activity.
Area C (map ref. 215818–24/627992–7). Two walls (W1, W2; Fig. 2), forming the corner of an agricultural plot were documented. Wall 1, aligned northeast-southwest, was built of two rows of large fieldstones, with a core (width 1.5 m) of small stones. Wall 2 was built congruent to W1 of only one row of medium-sized fieldstones. An excavation square (4×4 m) was opened at the corner of these walls. After removal of an alluvial fill layer (thickness 0.5 m), the limestone bedrock was uncovered (Fig. 3). Very limited ceramic finds were discovered in this area.
Area D (map ref. 215853–8/628015–20). A corner of an agricultural plot was exposed, consisting of two congruent walls (W7, W8; Fig. 4), similar to Area C. Another wall (W9), from the plot corner southward, was built of two rows of large fieldstones with a core of small stones. A small stone heap (3×4 m) was noticed at the inner corner of W7 and W8 (Fig. 5). A small probe (2×2 m) was excavated down through a small stone fill layer to bedrock (depth 1.5 m; Fig. 6). A few badly worn potsherds dating to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods were uncovered in the small stone fill.
Area E (map ref. 215766–72/628041–6). At the southernface of a terrace wall (W6; Fig. 7), a large stone heap (3.5×4.0 m) was uncovered. The heap was supported in the west by a wall (W3) built of large fieldstones and preserved four courses high (Fig. 8). A small probe (1.0×2.5 m, depth 1.5 m) was excavated from the top of the heap down to the bedrock (Fig. 9). The remains of a retaining wall (W4) were uncovered in the southern section of the heap. A small segment of an additional wall (W5) was found built assumingly to add support to the southern face of W4 (Fig. 10). Badly worn potsherds were found in the heap. Most of the fragments dated to the Byzantine period, although a few “Handmade Geometric Painted Ware” body sherds typical of the Mamluk period were present.
Terrace walls (Areas C–E), ancient agricultural plots (Areas C, D), and stone heaps (Areas D, E) were uncovered in the excavation. The nature of these features, coupled with the ample water sources in the area, attest to ancient agricultural activity at the site. Terrace walls are the most common archaeological feature in the hilly southern Levant. The walls served to prevent water erosion and supported the creation and marking of agricultural plots, delineating and differentiating ownership rights of the land. The stone heaps would have served as collection dumps for small stones uprooted during routine agricultural tilling. The heaps were most likely the result of multiple seasons of maintenance of agricultural fields. In many cases, as seen in W1 and W9, small stones were collected from the fields and dumped as a fill for field-wall construction.
Dating the elements in the excavation is problematic, as the limited uncovered potsherds were found in unsound locations. The ceramic assemblage in all excavation areas predominantly dated to the Byzantine period; thus, it may be assumed that these areas were used for agricultural purposes from the Byzantine and throughout the Ottoman periods.