|Alternate name||בית לויה|
|Periods||Iron Age II - Mameluke period|
In 1961, two Iron Age II multi-chamber burial caves were excavated by Joseph Navehat in the eastern part of the site. The caves had been unearthed by road construction. One cave contained eight skeletons that had been untouched since being laid to rest. Drawings and inscriptions were carved into the walls of the cave. The other cave had been looted at some point, and analysis revealed that the interred individuals belonged to a group of different origin than the first group. The drawings depicted three human figures, two ships, and two other figures that may be an encampment and a tent. The ships lead scholars to believe that the chambers were reused byIsraelite refugees fleeing the Chaldaean armies in the sixth century BCE, probably Levites. Ships are a common motif in ancient Near Eastern burial chambers.
Between 1972 and 1973, the site was surveyed by Yehuda Dagan. This survey revealed that the site had been settled from the Hellenistic period until at least the Mameluke period. No Iron Age remains were found. A number of hewn subterranean installations, including columbaria, olive presses, water cisterns, quarries, a stable and hideaways are attributed to the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
From 1979 to 1983, Yotam Tepper and Y. Shahar investigated the caves at the site.
In 1983 and 1986 Joseph Patrich and Yoram Tsafrir excavated a basilica church at the site, as well as an olive press, a wine press and a burial cave nearby, on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The church is thought to have been built around the year 500 CE, and to have functioned well into the 8th century. The church complex was thought to be on the outskirts of a village. The mosaic floors of the church reflect iconoclastic activity, and then repair.
The excavations at the site were renewed in 2005 under the direction of the Oren Gutfeld, on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
יהוה אלהי כל הארץ, הרי יהד לו לאלהי ירשלם, המוריה אתה חננת נוה יה יהוהThe reference to Jerusalem is the oldest Hebrew language mention using this spelling.
As a defense against Bedouin raids, many villagers in Ottoman Palestine built homes in the central hills and descended to the plains seasonally to sow crops and harvest them. The satellite villages they used at these times began to grow as the population drifted westward.