2006 reconnaissance report:
Kh ed-Duweir is the western most site we will be surveying in BAP. It lies to the north of Kufr Abil, and immediately north of the Roman road which linked Pella and Gerasa. The site lies on a hill and is partly open grazing land and partly under cultivation (annual crops and olive orchard).
Ancient wall lines are visible in the western part of the site. Most noticeably, there are many rock-cut installations in the eastern part of the site. Some of these are apparently graves, some seem to be presses (?wine) remarkably close to the graves.
Based on information from local informants, and the UTM co-ordinates on JADIS, we selected the hillsite NW of Kufr Abil which had clear rock-cut rectangular shafts and basins as the site of Kh Duweir. However, we were uncertain as to whether we were in the same location as that described by Mittman from his survey (nr. 164) as he did not mention any rock-cuttings, and there had not been a house on the site, whereas Mittman’s Duweir had an old house on it. Furthermore, the pottery appeared small and water-worn, as if deposited from manuring.
Around midday on the 6th, we questioned locals who finally admitted that the hill to the south of where we were working was also called Kh Duweir and had a lot of pottery on it. We relocated there (henceforth Duweir 2) on 7th November. There had been recent bulldozing of the site of the old (?late 19th century) house, of which now only the north-west corner stands, also disturbing earlier deposits, in order to eradicate snakes (!). Considerable amounts of large, sharply broken pottery was recovered to the south of the bulldozer scar, and to the north, down the terracing of the olive grove. Significantly less pottery was found to the west of the owner’s land boundary, although there were cisterns and an enigmatic series of rock cuttings. These extend NW from a quarry, and consist of a small chamber flanked by triangular markers, with the edges of rectangular cuttings further NW. Excavation of the area may elucidate the function of the markers and basins.
A large in-situ mosaic survived the bulldozer, a small part of which was photographed. This clearly relates to a curved wall, with a section of straight walling to the north, and a column drum, apparently in situ, the south-west. Given the carefully worked stones, some prepared for plaster rendering, considerable tesserae, cistern and pottery in the bulldozer scar, we have reconstructed a church on the site. This would explain the limited visible architecture and associated industrial rock-cut installations, along with the pottery which seems on first sight to be principally Byzantine.
Click here to get an Arabic pdf of the 2006 field report for Kh. ed-Duweir.