|Horbat Manot, The Sugar Factory|
|Documentation and preliminary survey|
|Orderer||The Antiquities Authority - Internal|
Arch. Amir Freundlich|
Arch. Yaara Shaltiel
The remains of the sugar works of Horbat Manot are located in a Jewish National Fund wood, east of Highway 70 which connects the two settlements Kabri and Shlomi.
During January 2004, a preliminary physical survey and recording were conducted, aiming to evaluate the site importance and level of preservation
The Crusaders first encountered sugar cane and the growing of it upon arrival the shores of Lebanon in the 11th century. Within a few years they have come to realize the value of the sugar manufactured from the cane, the profit gained from its production and from exporting it to Europe. Apparently, the Crusaders were the first to develop the process of producing sugar crystals in cones and in molasses amphoriskoi that facilitated the transport and the marketing of the sugar cane products in Europe.
The Manot site is mentioned in the context of sugar production in Crusader sources and with a similar name, Manueth as early as the second half of the 12th century. Despite the constant change of reigning, frequently shifting between Crusaders and Muslim rule, the sugar works was operating as originally assigned to for five more decades. During the 16th century the farm was used to raise buffalos, after which the place was abandoned.
The sugar mill consists of remains of an aqueduct that conveyed water from Nahal Kziv; crushing mill sluices, press base for extracting the liquefied sugar and a large barrel-vaulted hall (8 x 35 m) containing furnaces for cooking and refining the sugar cane juice, remains of another hall to the north of it and a subterranean vault to the south of it.
The remains rise to a considerable height, some to as much as 5-7 m; however, the present ground level is higher than the original surface level with c. 3. m of accumulated collapse and erosion. The undergrowth that has taken root, along with the theft of ashlar stones and the lack of maintenance, has accelerated the process of destruction in the building whose physical condition is quite deteriorated.
Some areas are dangerous to visitors.
With the exception of a rescue excavation in the western part of the site, conducted by Edna Stern in 2001 on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, there has been no archaeological or conservation intervention. The Jewish National Fund recently pruned the vegetation covering the remains however; no steps have been taken regarding the undergrowth that took root long ago in the foundations of the remains.
Conservation work must be held in two phases: first, stabilizing the exposed remains concurrently to an archaeological dig to identify the architectural elements: the entrance hall to the refinery and the crushing mill, including its sluices.
Following recording and analysis of the exposed remains, the second stage includes the evaluation of the possibilities to a technological and architectural reconstruction of the factory components to illustrate the process of sugar manufacturing and further archaeological excavation inside the refining hall.
Horbat Manot constitutes a rare example in terms of level of preservation, of a Crusader sugar factory. There is a potential to present and illustrate the ancient technology for manufacturing sugar to the general public while revealing a structure not yet excavated.
Conservation of the site will contribute to the understanding of the Crusader Era in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, as well as creating a travel attraction offering a unique experience to visitors in the northern part of Israel.
To view the figures, click on the figure caption