In June 2016, a salvage excavation was conducted in Azor (Permit No. A-7745; map ref. 181669/658957; Fig. 1), after ancient remains were discovered in preliminary tests ahead of construction of a residential building. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Yossi Hugi and Yaakov Azran, was directed by I. Elad, with the assistance of A. Dayan (registration), Y. Amrani and R. Abu-Salah (administration), R. Mishayev, R. Liran and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), V. Eshed and Y. Nagar (physical anthropology), E. Kamiasky (pottery restoration), Y. Asscher (analytical laboratory), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory) and N. Sukenik (textiles), as well as M. Ajami, D. Barkan and I. Jonish from the Tel Aviv district of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The excavated area is c. 250 m south of Tel Azor, on the northwestern margins of a low kurkar
hill of graves known as Giv’at Ha-Kevarim. In excavations conducted by M. Dotan in 1958 and 1960 in the northeastern part of this hill (Area D), many graves from the Iron Age I as well as graves and other remains from the Mamluk to the Ottoman periods were uncovered (Ben-Shlomo 2012
). In an excavation in 2001 near Area D, additional graves from the Iron Age I were uncovered, as well as a refuse pit that was in use during the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (Bouchenino 2006
; Bouchenino and Yannai 2010
Two areas were opened in the current excavation (Fig. 2), revealing graves from the Iron Age I (the eastern area) and a habitation level from the Abbasid period (the western area).
The eastern area yielded nine graves (T2–T9, T11) belonging to three types: stone-built cist tombs, pit graves and one jar burial. All the graves were dug into the sandy soil overlaying the kurkar rock on the lower part of the hillslope. The cist tombs were lined with rectangular kurkar stones, worked on the side facing the interior of the tomb. The graves usually contained one individual, laid supine with hands extended on its sides. Two graves had multiple burials: one with three adults, and the other with two adults and a child. In several of the graves, funerary offerings were discovered near the deceased, including pottery, metal objects and jewelry (Figs. 3, 4). All of the graves were dated according to the finds to the Iron Age I.
The western area yielded limited remains of a habitation level (L120) containing pottery sherds dated to the Abbasid period.
Ben-Shlomo D. 2012. The Azor Cemetery: Moshe Dothan’s Excavations, 1958 and 1960 (IAA Reports 50). Jerusalem.
Bouchenino 2006. Azor.HA-ESI 118.
Bouchenino A. and Yannai. E. Iron Age I Tombs in the Azor Cemetery. ‘Atiqot 63:17*–40* (Hebrew; English summary pp. 231–232).