The installation had a curvilinear outer wall (W100; outer diam. 3.7 m, inner diam. 2.5 m, width 0.7 m; Figs. 4–6) built of two rows of partly dressed fieldstones and a small-stone core. Next to the western inner side of the installation was a curvilinear inner wall built of one row of fieldstones (W103; outer diam. 1.4 m, inner diam. 0.75 m, width 0.5 m). An accumulation of brown soil and a few sherds were unearthed inside the small circle (L102). A bedding of small and medium-sized fieldstones (L101) was exposed between the stone circles. A trial trench, excavated in the northern part of the installation revealed that this was deliberate fill, a kind of bedding for the small circle of stones, that was irregular in shape (Fig. 7) and may have served as a floor (L104). Several pottery sherds, flint items and bones were found in the trench, which exposed up to eight courses of the inner face of W100. After cleaning and dismantling the collapse, a stone heap was exposed west of W100, revealing a wall (W106; width 0.4 m, height 0.2 m) built of two rows of stones; it adjoined the southern side of W100. Apparently, the wall was semicircular and abutted W100 from the north. A section of W106 (L108) was excavated between W100 and W106 in soil containing numerous pottery sherds. Just one course of W106, and five courses of W100 were revealed in the outer western face.
The ceramic finds were homogeneous. About one hundred sherds were retrieved, the overwhelming majority abraded and non-diagnostic. Most of the clay is coarse,
contains many inclusions and is poorly fired. The few diagnostic fragments retrieved were of holemouths and V-shaped bowls. Although no fragments of churns, cornets or incense-burners were discovered—characteristic of the Ghassulian culture and particularly prevalent at nearby Tel Yehud—it nevertheless seems that the assemblage can be dated, with caution, to the Chalcolithic period.
The stone objects uncovered include two fragments of a basalt incense-burner, a base of a bowl and two fragments of grinding stones.
A flint blade and small fragments of bones, probably human, were also discovered (in L104).
The plan of the installation differs from those excavated in Yehud in recent years, and therefore, it cannot be identified as a well. However, it seems to have been used during the Late Chalcolithic period. Similar structures, identified as funerary buildings, were excavated near Kibbutz Palmah
im (Gorzalczany 2006
) and in Shiqmim in the Negev (Levy and Alon 1979
). We suggest that the apparent date of the installation, its architectural plan, the meager fragments of human bones and the parallels presented diagnostic that this is a funerary structure from the Chalcolithic period. Evidence of extensive human activity during the Chalcolithic period has been uncovered at Tel Yehud, c. 4 km to the north (Milevski 2008
; Jakoel 2014
; Jakoel and van den Brink 2014
; Govrin 2015
; Itach 2016
). Tombs from this period have not yet been discovered near the tell. The structure exposed in the excavation may have belonged to the burial ground of the Chalcolithic settlement in Yehud, c. 4 km south.