In March 2019, an excavation was carried out at Tel Arad (Permit No. A-8494; map ref. 211921/576330; Fig. 1) prior to construction of a trail. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, was directed by S. Talis (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Alamor (administration), E. Aladjem (surveying, drafting, field photography and photogrammetry), A. Azoulay (plans) and I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
Tel Arad is located at an important crossroads, which has been in use ever since the Bronze Age. Eighteen excavation seasons took place at the site between 1962 and 1984 (Amiran et al. 1997), unearthing an extensive planned and fortified lower city from the Early Bronze Age II–III (Amiran 1978) and an upper city with fortresses from the Iron Age II (Herzog 2002). Following the identification of ancient remains while paving the trail (depth c. 1 m) that leads from the entrance to the site to the well in the lower city, five excavation squares were opened (2 × 2 m each; Fig. 2). The excavation revealed an accumulation of loess (L100, L102, L106, 108; thickness c. 0.15 m) which covered several layers of soil mixed with ash (L103–L105, L109, L110; Fig. 3), which contained numerous fieldstones and broken mud-bricks. Fill 105 (Fig. 4) consisted of alternating layers of ash (thickness 0.15 m) and brown soil (thickness c. 5 cm) covering brown, homogenous loess (L111). The components of the fill were apparently brought from various places on the tell and laid in place intentionally; the purpose and date of this fill remain unclear. A fill of limestone fragments in Accumulation 103 had apparently been brought from a hewn cistern, 6 m to its northwest.
The layers of soil mixed with ash yielded pottery sherds, including a holemouth jar with a cut rim from the EB II (Fig. 5:1); a krater with an outfolded rim (Fig. 5:2), a jar with an upright neck and a square, sloping, inverted rim (Fig. 5:3) and a jug with an open, everted rim (Fig. 5:4) from the Iron Age IIB–C; two jugs with outward-rounded rims (Fig. 5:5, 6) from the Persian period; and the base of a black-slipped bowl (Fig. 5:7) from the Hellenistic period. All these dates accord with the date of previously known remains on the tell. No structures or installations were discovered in the excavation, but the fieldstones and mud-bricks had apparently been used for construction on the tell.
Amiran R., Ilan O., Saban M. and Herzog Z. 1997. Arad. Tel Aviv (Hebrew).
Amiran R. 1978. Early Arad; The Chalcolithic Settlement and Early Bronze City I: First–Fifth Seasons of Excavations, 1962–1966. Jerusalem.
Herzog Z. 2002. The Fortress Mound at Tel Arad: An Interim Report. Tel Aviv 29:3–109.