During January 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted along the southeastern slope of Hill C in Ramat Bet Shemesh (Permit No. A-6390; map ref. 19892–7/62323–7), in the wake of exposing antiquities during preliminary inspections. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Paz, with the assistance of N. Nehama and R. Abu Halaf (administration), R. Greenwald (preliminary inspections), I. Lidski-Reznikov (pottery drawings), D. Ben-Ami (guidance) and E. Eisenberg.
The excavation area was at the foot of a Late Bronze Age site on the hilltop, which was partly surveyed in the past (HA-ESI 111:81*). Remains that resemble walls and fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Bronze or Iron Ages were discovered in trial trenches.
Five excavation squares were opened; four squares were set in the northern part of the area to ascertain the nature of the remains discovered in the trial trenches, and one square was opened in the southern part for the purpose of evaluating a massive wall, built on the bedrock and generally aligned northeast-southwest.
The continuation of the massive wall (W105; Fig. 1), built of different size fieldstones, was exposed in the northern squares. It seems that some of the remains exposed in the trial trenches adjoined the wall in the east and belonged to the period of its construction or slightly thereafter. These consisted of a fill that was deposited against the eastern side of the wall.
Numerous stones of various sizes were discovered in the two squares excavated along the western side of the wall (Fig. 2); these stones might have been used for the purpose of leveling the bedrock. The remains in the trial trenches on that side were evidently some of the stone accumulations and not walls. The stones were irregular in size and found in disarray. No habitation levels or floors that related to them were discovered.
Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Late Bronze Age were discovered in the brown soil excavated between the stones and on the bedrock, these included a bowl (Fig. 3:1), a cooking pot (Fig. 3:2) and a jar handle (Fig. 3:3), as well as a fragment of a cooking pot from the Roman period (Fig. 3:6) and a bowl fragment from the modern era (Fig. 3:7). Mostly potsherds from the Late Bronze Age, and the Roman–Byzantine periods, as well as Gaza ware from the modern era, were found between the stones in the brown soil.
Fragments of pottery vessels from the Roman–Byzantine periods, including a bowl (Fig. 3:4) and a cooking pot (Fig. 3:5) were discovered inside the brown alluvium in the southern square.
The excavation revealed that when agricultural walls were built on the slope in the modern era, stones and soil were brought in for the purpose of leveling the bedrock surface and reinforcing the walls. Hence, the potsherds discovered in the excavation were not in-situ and were apparently brought over from the ancient site located on the hilltop.