During June 2006, a trial excavation was conducted at the site northeast of Qibbuz Kefar Ruppin (Permit No. A-4833; map ref. 250887–1088/707921–8053) in an area where fish ponds are slated to be built. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Qibbuz, was directed by W. Atrash, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi and I. Lavan (administration), V. Essman (surveying), H. Abu-‘Uqsa (pottery reading) and H. Tahan (pottery drawing).
Two squares were opened in a field, c. 150 m apart and c. 100 west of ‘Ain es-Siba. A layer of gray farm soil (thickness 0.3–0.5 m) that contained a few potsherds from the Mamluk period was exposed and below it was a layer of dark gray sterile soil, as well as travertine deposits that point to water presence.
The potsherds included plain and glazed bowls, cooking pots and sugar jars.
The glazed bowls (Fig. 1:1–4) occur in a variety of sizes. The sides are curved or carinated and the rim is plain, rounded and sometimes thickened. The bowls, made of orange-brown fabric, are covered with thick white slip on the interior of the bowls, extending over the rim; the slip is overlain with a yellow monochrome glaze on the interior and the rim. Glazed runs and drops occur on the exterior of the bowls.
The plain bowls (Fig. 1:5, 6) have a simple, rounded or square rim, curved sides and a flat base. They are handmade of light brown or pinkish brown clay that is mixed with straw and occasionally contains white lime inclusions; most have a gray core, which indicates low firing temperatures. The bowls have a burnished white, buff-color, orange or light brown slip; some are plain (Fig. 1:5) and others are decorated with horizontal and diagonal red linear patterns (Fig. 1:6).
The cooking pots (Fig. 1:7, 8) are closed and have an everted rim. They are handmade of light brown-gray clay mixed with straw and various size white and black inclusions. The pots, slipped brown (Fig. 1:7) or red (Fig. 1: 8) on the inside and outside, are burnished.
The sugar jars (Fig. 1:9, 10) have an everted rim and ribbing on the outside (Fig. 1:9) or a plain rim (Fig. 1:10). They are made of light brown-orange clay that contains white and black grits. Such vessels, first used in the sugar industry during the second half of the twelfth century CE, were most prevalent in the thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE.
The results of the excavation allude to a settlement that was scattered around the spring and engaged in agriculture and the sugar industry. The ceramic finds indicate that the area may have been first settled in the middle of the twelfth century CE, but its main occupation was in the Mamluk period, during the thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE.