A salvage excavation was conducted in March 2000 prior to the laying of a water pipe line, adjacent to the Tel Aviv–Jerusalem Highway 1 (Permit No. A-3358; map ref. NIG 21560–70/ 63328–32; OIG 16560–70/13328–32). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by the Meqorot Water company, was directed by E. Eisenberg and D. A. Sklar-Parnes, assisted by V. Essman and V. Pirsky (Surveying).
Western Area (3.5 × 10.0 m)
The naturally flat bedrock was exposed in a small portion of the area (1.5 × 3.0 m), at 4 m below the highway. A layer of terra rosa soil (thickness 0.5–0.6 m) rested directly above bedrock and yielded flints, such as cores, flakes, and microliths, characteristic of the Epipaleolithic Kebaran period.
Remains of an occupation layer from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (thickness 3.0–3.3 m; Fig. 1) were discerned above the Epipaleolithic stratum. The layer comprised a beaten-earth floor with four hearths and contained flints, including debitage, cores and tools, as well as bone implements and animal bones. A unique find was a borer or drill hafted in a hollow bone handle. An artificial fill (thickness 1.0–1.2 m) overlaid the floor and was composed of small stones mixed with black soil, which was the result of a high concentration of charcoal. The finds in the fill were similar to those on the floor.
Remains of an elongated hall, including a wall, three pilasters and a floor (3.5 × 8.0 m) were discovered throughout the western area. The wall was built of hewn and field- stones and the floor was constructed from paving stones in the east and beaten earth in the west. The few potsherds associated with this layer indicated usage in the Late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. Three horseshoes and nails were among the iron artifacts recovered from the hall, implying a possible function of the building as a stable.
Two rooms, constructed from hewn ashlars in secondary use and preserved to a maximum of two courses high, superposed the pilaster hall remains. This layer could not be precisely dated, though it preceded the Ottoman period.
A wall, probably a fence, was discerned along the northern section of the area where a small pit was found as well. A built water or sewage channel on the eastern side of the wall may have been in use at the same time. Ceramic potsherds attest to usage in the nineteenth century CE.
The Ottoman road to Jerusalem, constructed in 1869, covered the entire excavated area. It had a foundation of small to medium-sized stones, overlaid with packed gravel and Moza marl. Along the southern edge of the road was a line of medium-sized stones that indicated the shoulder. The total width of the road was not determined, as it extended beyond the limits of the excavation.
Eastern Area (5.0 x 7.5 m)
This area was located 30 m west of the Nahal Soreq wadi bed. The excavation was not completed and did not extend down to bedrock.
A corner of a massive building, composed of the northern and eastern walls and dating to the Late Roman period, was exposed in the earliest layer. The walls were built of two rows of small to medium fieldstones with a fill in between. Although ceramics were recovered from a debris layer on both sides of the northern wall––the floor levels were not reached.
A building from the Ottoman period directly superposed the Late Roman-period remains. Three floor layers were excavated, the lower two were constructed from crushed lime and the upper was paved with stone tiles. Within the confines of the building a partition wall was added above the upper floor and a flight of stairs outside, leading from the Ottoman road to the entrance. This building was abandoned in 1942 with the construction of the British Mandate road and bridge. A modern fill (thickness 1.5–2.0 m) covered the entire excavated area.