During August–September 2008, a trial excavation was conducted at the site of Ard el-Samra (Permit No. A-5507; map ref. 21637/75586), prior to planting trees. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Qibbuz Yas‘ur, was directed by N. Getzov (surveying and photography), with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), A. Shapiro (GPS), Y. Mahajna (registration), L. Porat (pottery restoration), H. Tahan (drawing), O. Marder (flint tools), I. Milevski (ground stone tools), G. Le Dosseur (bone tools), I. Ktalev (mollusks), and laborers of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Additional aid was provided by E. Stern and Y. Lerer, who checked the extent of the site.
An excavation area of two squares (5 × 10 m) was opened and four strata were discovered, two of which contained ancient settlement remains. At the bottom of the excavation was a layer of virgin soil (Stratum IV), composed of dark brown gromosol. An accumulation of light colored soil (Stratum III), which contained flint artifacts, stone tools, the bones of animals that had been consumed and a single human bone, was found in a pit that had been dug into virgin soil (Fig. 3). The flint artifacts indicate that the accumulation dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, although they are inadequate for determining a specific phase within this period. Overlying Stratum IV and the pit was the primary archaeological layer, which consisted of an accumulation of soil and small stones (Stratum II; thickness 0.3–0.7 m), replete with finds from a permanent settlement that were ascribed to the Yarmukian culture, set at the beginning of the Pottery Neolithic period. These included several fragments of potsherds decorated with strips of incised herringbone patterns; deeply denticulated flint sickle blades, as well as a goddess figurine, incised on a potsherd (height 76 mm; Fig. 4), which is very similar to the figurines carved on stream pebbles from Sha‘ar Ha-Golan.
The site was covered with a layer of alluvium (Stratum I; thickness c. 0.7 m) that contained a few archaeological finds, although not indicative of settlement remains.
An examination of the area surrounding the excavation revealed that the site is spread across c. 200 dunams. Most of the finds gathered along the borders of the site were ascribed to the Pottery Neolithic and the Early Chalcolithic periods, whereas the finds from the southeastern part of the site were mostly attributed to the Intermediate Bronze Age. Several potsherds that dated to Early Bronze Age II had probably originated from the Giv‘at Yavor site, located nearby.