|Horvat Beit ‘Itab|
|Orderer||Nature and Parks Authority|
Conservation Guidance - Yoram Saad, Head of the Implementation Branch
Horvat Beit ‘Itab is located c. 17 kilometers west of Jerusalem, near the settlements of Nes Harim and Bar Giora, on a hill 665 meters above sea level. In 2002 the region was declared a national park – Horvat ‘Itab – covering an area of 130 dunams.
The remains at the site include the ruins of a Crusader fortress that overlooked the road from the Valley of Ella to Jerusalem and the Arab village of Beit ‘Itab, which was abandoned in 1948.
The site was surveyed in 1989 by Denys Pringle, a researcher of the Crusader period in Israel. The survey documented the remains of the Crusader fortress, vaults, elements of a wall and towers, tunnels, a columbarium installation and an olive press.
On the top of the hill is a building with a barrel vault ceiling, whose construction date has not been determined (it is probably part of the Crusader fortress). It is 15 meters long and approximately 4.5 meters high. The vault serves as an observation outpost for visitors to the site. Due to weathering processes and destruction the stability of the vaulted structure has been undermined and it is falling apart.
The problems in the building include: the seepage of water into the building’s components, vegetation taking root in the building remains, the disintegration of bonding material and falling stones.
The aim of the current conservation project is to stabilize the vaulted building in order to prevent its collapse. It was decided that the stabilization will be done by means of conservation measures utilizing traditional technology, without the installation of supports.
The current stabilization measures include:
• The removal and spraying of vegetation that has taken root in the building remains.
• Stabilization of the exposed wall cores by means of a lime based bonding aggregate.
• Pointing up the joints using a lime based bonding material.
• The use of debesh construction to make the walls of the vault thicker.
• Sealing the top of the vault by means of layers of bonding material and debesh.
To view the figures, click on the figure caption