In July–August 2016, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Agamim neighborhood of Ashqelon (Permit No. A-7763; map ref. 159074–204/617301–503; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Etgar Real Estate Company, was directed by D. Yegorov (photography and flint), with the assistance of Y. Al-ʽAmor (administration), N.S. Paran (GPS), A. Hajian and Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), N. Zak (plans), G. Seriy (pottery) and I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
Area A. Three squares (75 sq m) were opened, revealing five strata (V–I) that were clearly visible in a section excavated at the southeastern part of the area (Fig. 2: Section 1–1). Ancient remains were discovered in Strata II and IV. Dense clay soil was exposed in Stratum V (L111; thickness 0.3 m). Stratum IV (thickness 0.3 m), comprising soft sandy soil mixed with small bits of kurkar, sloped slightly toward the southeast. Several flint items from the Chalcolithic period were discovered in this stratum, including cores, bladelets and flakes (L102; Fig. 3), as well as a few worn pottery sherds, most of which cannot be identified; they include the base of a cornet from the Chalcolithic period. Stratum III (L100, L103; thickness 0.5 m) comprised dense clay soil. Similar soil mixed with abraded pottery sherds from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods was exposed in Stratum II (thickness 0.5 m). Stratum I (thickness 0.7 m) was a surface level that contained soft clay soil mixed with modern debris. It seems that the area was probably the northern boundary of a Chalcolithic-period site.
Area B (Fig. 4). A square (25 sq m) was opened, yielding the foundation (L107, L110; thickness 0.2 m) of an agricultural installation: roughly hewn kurkar blocks bonded with light gray mortar. Although the installation’s walls were not preserved, numerous pieces of plaster that were discovered above the foundation (L104) and nearby (L106) indicate that they were plastered. A scant amount of pottery sherds from the Byzantine period were discovered in Loci 104 and 106, including bowls (Fig. 5:1,2) and a jar (Fig. 5:3). This and other installations in the vicinity reflect the extensive agricultural activity that took place there during the Byzantine period.
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