During November–December 2009, a salvage excavation was conducted in Shikun Gimel in Bet She’an, at the corner of Makhlouf and Ha-Gilbo'a Streets (Permit No. A-5779; map ref. 24663/71150; Fig. 1), in the wake of exposing antiquities while digging foundations for construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by K. Covello-Paran, with the assistance of Y. Laban (administration), A. Shapiro (GPS), N. Getzov (ceramic consultation).
A probe within a single square (25 sq m) was excavated; fragmentary architectural remains of a single structure, including a wall (W103) and an abutting living surface (L101; Figs. 2, 3) were exposed. Wall 103 (length 0.9 m, width 0.45 m), preserved a single course high, was constructed from two faces of medium-sized fieldstones (0.30 × 0.35 m; Fig. 4). Only a few mud-brick chunks were found in association with the wall’s stone foundation.
The level of the living surface (L101) was noted solely by the height of the stone-lined posthole and the potsherds that included a friable overturned bowl, two holemouth vessels (Fig. 5:1, 2) and a store jar rim (Fig. 5:3). Additional finds consisted of flint tools, such as a Canaanean blade (not illustrated) and ground-stone tools, including a basalt pestle (Fig. 5:4), a hammer stone (Fig. 5:5), two basalt upper grinding stones (Fig. 5:6, 7), a basalt lower grinding stone (Fig. 5:8), and a small perforated smoothed pebble (Fig. 5:9). The mandible of a sheep/goat was found north of the posthole.
Albeit fragmentary, the exposed structure suggests that this part of the modern city of Bet She’an was settled toward the end of the fourth millennium BCE, during Early Bronze Age I. It is probable that the Early Bronze Age remains were associated with the Chalcolithic settlement documented a few hundred meters away to the south. The lack of thick settlement deposits suggests that the excavated square is either located at the outskirts of this settlement or it was short lived, despite its location near the abundant springs and the adjacent fertile agricultural land. It is feasible that the inhabitants of this settlement were aware of and interacted with the contemporary Early Bronze Age I cultic center at Tel Bet She’an, located 1 km to the northeast.