This is the first archaeological excavation conducted at the site, following road construction that damaged the antiquities there in December, 2013. The excavation (c. 50 sq m) exposed a modern enclosure and terrace walls, remains of an ancient terrace wall of uncertain date and an Early Roman-period habitation level.
The road that damaged the site passes along the mound’s eastern slope. Two excavation squares (A, B; Fig. 3) were opened on both sides of the road.
Square A (north of the road). Beneath a modern enclosure wall (W101; Fig. 4) dating to the time when the Syrians controlled the Golan, an accumulation (L102, L103; depth c. 0.5 m) was excavated, revealing fragments of Roman-period pottery vessels—jars typical of the Iturean culture (Fig. 5:1, 2); the Byzantine period—a cooking pot (Fig. 5:3) and a jar (Fig. 5:4); and the Mamluk period—bowls (Fig. 6:1–4) and a krater (Fig. 6:5). Rashaya el-Fukhar Ware dating from the Ottoman period and the modern era, produced in pottery workshops in Southern Lebanon, were also discovered.
Other artifacts recovered from the accumulation included several fragments of glassware; fragments of a pestle (Fig. 7:1) and a mortar (Fig. 7:2), both of basalt; a Chalcolithic flint axe (Fig. 8); and a Mamluk coin from the reign of Sultan Sha‘aban II (1363–1377 CE; IAA 147096).
Beneath the accumulation layer were fragmentary remains of a tamped-earth floor (L106) and three smashed pottery vessels; the ceramics’ poor state of preservation precluded a determination of their date.
Square B (south of the road). Two field walls (W201, W204) running parallel to the natural contour lines of the hill were exposed. These were probably agricultural retaining walls, from different periods. The southern wall (W201) was modern, from the Syrian period, and, like the rest of the Syrian walls visible in the area, it rested on the surface without a deep foundation in the ground. Wall 204, which is earlier, was built in a different style and was constructed on top of the basaltic bedrock. The wall was exposed slightly below the surface and its date is unclear.
The numerous finds and impressive archaeological accumulation found in the previous surveys on the central and western parts of the tell were not present in the excavation area; hence, it seems that the area was located at the edge of the site. The finds revealed in the excavation reinforce Hartal’s (1989) contention that the main settlement was indeed at the top of the mound and along its western part.