Avraham Faust and Adi Ehrlich
Kh. er-Rasm is located in the Judean Shephelah (map reference
1435/1219), on a salient hill south-southwest of Tel 'Azeka. The site
was discovered by Y. Dagan, who collected sherds from the Iron Age,
and the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. The excavations and
research of the site are only in at the beginning. During 1997 surveys
and a sounding were undertaken at the site, and in 1998-1999 an excavation
was conducted there on behalf of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land
of Israel Studies of Bar-Ilan University and Jewish National Fund (JNF).
The preliminary surveys and probes exposed the remains of a large structure
(c. 30 x 30 m.) on the summit of the hill and a few smaller structures
along its edges. An extensive hiding complex and agricultural installations
were observed in the area around the site. On the surface were artifacts
dating from the Iron Age to modern times.
The western part of the large structure was especially
well preserved, and it was there that the excavations focused. The structure's
western wall (W1), built from two faces of fieldstones, was exposed
almost to its full extent, including the southern and northern corners.
Four meters east of this wall was a row of monolithic pillars (W4),
some standing, while other are fallen. W1 and the pillars were connected
by several walls built of nari stones or chalk blocks. Next to one of
them (W15) was a semicircular installation. In some of the squares,
bedrock was reached.
The pottery discovered on the surface was mixed, and mainly
dates to the Roman-Byzantine periods. Between the walls was a rubble
of rectangular chalk blocks and a few nari fieldstones. Amid and below
the rubble were sherds and even complete vessels from the Hellenistic
period. These included storage jars, cooking pots, a flask, bowls, unguentariu,
juglets and oil lamp in excellent condition. The function and date of
the large structure are unclear. Its architectural character suggested
that it was built at the Iron Age (like the structure at Kh. Abu e-Twein,
and others), but all the finds hitherto discovered in the rubble, underneath
the floors, and above the bedrock date to the Hellenistic period.