A rectangular building (7.3 × 11.4 m; Figs. 2, 3) dating from the Intermediate Bronze Age was cleaned and re-excavated. The building was constructed on a leveled and smoothed bedrock surface that served as a floor. The building’s outer walls (W111–W13, W15) are built of two rows of medium and large fieldstones, mainly in dry construction, reaching a maximum height of two courses (0.7 m); the outer rows are set in a straight line. Wall 13 is built of two rows of stones with a stone-filled core; only the inner row of stones of its southern part survived, as its outer row collapsed outward (Fig. 4). The three other outer walls of the building were intact and had no openings; two gaps (less than 1 m long) in W13, one at its northern end of and the other along its southern quarter, were probably entrances.
The interior of the building was divided into two large rooms (L107—4.4 × 6.5 m; L109—2.7 × 4.1 m) and four installations or small rooms, possibly granaries (L108, L111–L113; Fig. 5). Partitions walls separating the rooms and installations were built of small and medium-sized fieldstones that were randomly heaped up and preserved to a maximum height of 0.65 m (W14, W16–W19).
A semicircular installation (L117; diam. 1.7 m) built of a single row of large fieldstones (W20; Fig. 6) was built against the outer face of the southern part of W12. The bedrock surface, which served as the building’s floor, continued beyond the installation in all directions, sloping gradually to the east, south and west. It contained several cupmarks hewn in no clear pattern.
Since the site had been excavated previously, a rather small number of finds was recovered (Figs. 7–9). They included about 30 potsherds, most of which were from in Room 107. Of these, five were identified: two holemouth rims, one rounded (Fig. 7:1) and one cut with inner and outer ridges (Fig. 7:2); a juglet with a lug handle (Fig. 7:3); the simple everted rim of a jar or an amphoriskos (Fig. 7:4); and the thickened everted rim of a jar (Fig. 7:5). All are typical of the Intermediate Bronze Age. Also found were c. 20 flint flakes, displaying no diagnostic features, and a black biconical bead (c. 0.25 cm long, c. 0.15 cm wide; Fig. 7:6) made of black stone.
In Room 107 were two basalt grinding slabs, one complete (Fig. 8) and half of other one, which are typical of the period. The excavation also yielded two quern stones (lower and upper; Fig. 9) made of hard limestone. These are not known from the Intermediate Bronze Age. Since they were found on the bedrock surface east of the building in an area that was not excavated in 1991 (based on photographs from Nahlieli and Tahal’s excavation), they may have been brought to the site when the region was occupied in the Byzantine or Ottoman period.
The site belongs to a series of Intermediate Bronze Age sites in the eastern Negev. Such sites are characterized by roughly built circular or elliptical structures, most of which are no more than one meter high, that were roofed with perishable material—indicating that they were seasonal structures used by a nomadic population. Compared with other sites with rounded architecture, the site contains a relatively large quantity of stones. This suggests that the building was one floor high, in contrast to the customary interpretation of rounded architectural remains as the foundations of temporary structures made of perishable materials.
The rectangular building discovered at the site is not characteristic of the period; however, similar buildings have been found at Har Yeroham, at Mash’abbe Sade and even further north. The building’s unusual features—its rectangular shape, being one floor high, the four installations within it that may have served for storing grain and its location on a hilltop—indicate that it was a permanent building that was occupied throughout the year and not only during the grazing season.
Today, the site has been left standing in an area designated for an archaeological park. Near it are now benches designed and constructed by children from the nearby school, and it awaits preservation as part of the development of a new neighborhood.