In August 2017, a trial excavation was conducted between Ha-Talmud Street and Ha-Rav Hayim David Kahana Street in Ashqelon (Permit No. A-8087; map ref. 161181/619950; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the construction company Liam Nachmias Ltd., was directed by N.D. Michael (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Al-‘Amor (administration), V. Esman (surveying and drafting) and E. Belashov (plans). Trial trenches prior to the excavation were conducted by A. Freiberg.
Structure A. Seven walls were exposed; five were built of concrete (W104, W105, W108, W120, W122; width c. 0.4 m) and the other two of one row of roughly hewn kurkar stones with small stones bonded with brown earth in between (W118, W123; width c. 0.6 m). Part of W123 was left under a bulk. The walls were preserved to a height of 0.20–0.25 m (Fig. 4). Both sides of W118 and W123 were covered with plaster, which was partially painted in blue and gray (Fig. 5). A pavement of grayish stones (0.2 × 0.2 m) was found in several places (L119, L124, L127) along Walls 118 and 123; it seems that L119 and L127 are part of the same floor. Several Black Gaza Ware sherds were found in Structure A, in parts where no floors were preserved (L101, L109, L111).
Structure B. A wall (W125) built of two rows of roughly hewn kurkar stones with small stones bonded with brown earth in between was exposed. A reddish colored floor (L121), probably from concrete, abutted the wall. No small finds were discovered within this structure.
Structure C (Fig. 6). A wall (W112, W114) built of one row of roughly hewn kurkar stones was revealed on the eastern side of the square. In the middle of the square was a rectangular space enclosed by concrete walls (W103, W113). A stone-slab floor (L116; c. 0.4 × 0.4 m) abuts the enclosure and extends southward. A channel with a pipe (L115; length 1.7 m, width 0.1 m) was discovered below the floor’s surface, running parallel to W112/114, c. 0.5 m from it. Several Black Gaza Ware sherds were found on the floor.
The production of Black Gaza Ware of the type found in Structures A and C began in the early eighteenth century CE and continued as late as the 1970s (Israel 2006
:7), although in Ashqelon, such vessels were probably no longer used after 1950 (Peretz 2014
). Based on the concrete and the aerial photo, the excavated building remains date from the first half of the twentieth century CE. The buildings were probably abandoned between the 1960s and the 1980s.