In April–June 2019, the third educational community excavation season was conducted at Horbat Tittora in Modi‘in (Permit No. A-8501; map ref. 202023–82/645513–83; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Modi‘in Municipality and the Modi‘in Economic Corporation, was directed by N. Shachar and D. Weinberger, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), M. Kahan and A. Wiegmann (surveying and drafting), I. Jonish (photography), V. Bosidan-Gadol (educational coordinator), T. Boneh, M. Ben-Yaakov, A. Ben-Atar, T. Blustein, N. Cohen and T. Shabi (guidance of volunteers), Y. Tepper (guidance) and I. Korenfeld.
Horbat Tittora is located on a hill (c. 600 dunams) with a Crusader tower (el-Burj; twelfth century CE). Two ancient roads connecting Yafo and Jerusalem—one Roman, the other Crusader—passed near the site (Ellenblum 1987; Fischer, Issac and Roll 1996). Remains of several agricultural installations visible on the hill attest to former farming activities. Two caves, previously uncovered on the eastern slope, contained the remains of a seasonal agricultural settlement from the transitional Late Chalcolithic–EBA I period (Lass 1998). Iron Age II installations (Gudovitz and Feldstein 1998) and an underground hiding complex from the time of Bar Kokhba (Gibson and Lass 2000) were uncovered near the top of the hill. Prior to the current excavation, two educational community excavations were carried out near the tower (Marmelstein 2020; Tendler 2021).
The current six-square excavation, carried out east of the tower (Fig. 2), uncovered the remains of a wall and two tabuns. Wall 307 (length 5.00 m, width 0.65 m) comprised an east–west oriented row of small and medium-sized fieldstones, standing at least three courses high. The wall’s base was not reached, nor was its extension traced in either direction. The two tabuns (L306, L309) were constructed on a layer of small and medium-sized fieldstones (L308; Fig. 2: Section 1–1) and attest to domestic activity at the site. No architectural remains were exposed in the northern squares (L300, L302, L304).
The excavation produced mixed ceramic finds. Most of the pottery dates from the Mamluk and early Ottoman periods (thirteenth–sixteenth centuries CE), indicating the main occupation at the site. It includes sherds of glazed bowls, cooking pots and jars (not drawn). Other pottery sherds date from the Bronze Age, Iron Age II, and the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. The finds in the present and previous excavations reflect several periods of occupation, spanning the Bronze Age period and the Arab village evacuated in 1948.
Ellenblum R. 1987. The Crusader Road from Lod to Jerusalem. In Y. Ben-Arieh, Y. Ben-Artzi and H. Goren eds. Historical-Geographical Studies in the Settlement of Eretz Israel. Jerusalem. Pp. 203–218 (Hebrew).
Fischer M., Isaac B. and Roll I. 1996. Roman Roads in Judaea 2: The Jaffa-Jerusalem Roads (BAR Int. S. 628). Oxford.
Gibson S. and Lass E. 2000. Horbat Tittora, the Central Hilltop. ESI 20:72*.
Gudovitz S. and Feldstein A. 1998. Horbat Tittora. ESI 18:79–81.
Lass E. 2000. Horbat Tittora, the Western Hilltop and Slope. ESI 20:72*–73*.