The excavation (c. 30 m asl) was carried out a few meters southwest of the city market and c. 100 m west of the bed of Naḥal Rabah. It is situated in the area of the Wadi Rabah site, which extends along the southern bank of Naḥal Rabah—a tributary of the Yarqon River. The site and immediate surrounding is characterized by heavy brown-reddish alluvium (Kaplan 1958:149–151; Gopher and Eyal 2017). The Early Chalcolithic Wadi Rabah culture was defined at the site for the first time in the first excavation there, carried out by Kaplan. Remains were also unearthed in that excavation from the Pottery Neolithic (the Yarmukian and Jericho IX cultures) and the Late Chalcolithic (the Ghassulian culture; Kaplan 1958; see Fig. 1). Finds from these periods were discovered also in excavations that have taken place at the site in recent years (Permit Nos. A-8226, A-5579; see Fig. 1).

One excavation square was opened (4 sq m; Fig. 2), only the eastern half of which was excavated (2 sq m), revealing meager ceramic and flint finds from the Chalcolithic period. In trial trenches opened prior to the excavation and on the surface (L100) were potsherds as well as flint and stone artifacts that will be described below along with the finds from the excavation.

 

The excavation began at a depth of c. 2 m below the surface, containing modern-day debris. The remains of stream deposits layer containing alluvial soil and stream pebbles (of limestone or flint of the Mashash Formation) were found c. 3 m below the surface. The layer sloped moderately westward. Its upper part (L102; thickness 0.3 m) was excavated manually while the lower part (thickness 0.3 m) was excavated mechanically. As deepening into the stream layer, the amount of pebbles increases and the amount of soil decreases. Most of the finds were discovered in the upper part of the layer; their number decreased as the excavation deepened, and they were entirely absent at the bottom of the layer (the lower 0.3 m). The finds were meager and very poorly preserved.

 

Pottery. Two ribbon handles, widening at their base, were found on the surface. One (Fig. 3:1) belongs to a red-slipped carinated holemouth vessel of a type that appears, albeit rarely, in Wadi Rabah assemblages (Milevski et al. 2016:159, Fig. 4). These holemouth vessels are usually decorated with geometric patterns typical of this culture but, in this case, there was no decoration. The second handle (Fig. 3:2) is a simple ribbon handle known from the Pre-Ghassulian Chalcolithic (Garfinkel 1999; Eyal and Gopher 2012:613–622). A few small, worn, unidentifiable body sherds were also unearthed.

 

Flint finds. The flint objects (N=37; Table 1) were made of local flint of the Mashash Formation originating in the stream. They were worn and bore patina, indicating that they had been exposed to the ravages of nature. Among the tools was a rectangular sickle blade (Fig. 4:1) discovered on the surface. It was made on a blade or bladelet that had been flaked from a backed unidirectional core, and it has a pair of truncations and a semi-abruptly retouched back. Sickle blades of this type are known from the Wadi Rabah culture (Barkai and Gopher 2012:799–801). Two awls (Fig. 4:2) were also retrieved: one on the surface and the other in the alluvium layer (L102, B1003; Fig. 4:2), as well as a notch, a truncated item and a retouched item. Among the cores were a Levallois core from the Middle Paleolithic (the Mousterian culture), bearing a pattern of centripetal scars, and two single platform cores, one multiple platform core and one core of flake. Except for the Levallois core, all objects were discovered in the alluvial layer.

 
Table 1. Flint Finds
Find
Quantity
%
Flakes
3
7
Bladelets
2
5
Core treaming elements
3
7
Cores
5
12
Tools
6
15
Chips
18
44
Total
37
100
 

Stone finds. Two stone objects were found on the surface. One is a fragment of a ring-like tool (Fig. 5:1), apparently a weight, made of limestone with a straight-convex profile and perforated in the center. The tool’s two faces are dissimilar and irregular and therefore it appears that it is unfinished. The second object, a worn fragment of a basalt vessel with parts of the base and the body, bears ridges on the outer, lower part (Fig. 5:2). The base may have been a kind of foot, and therefore it seems that this is a chalice, similar to those discovered at Gilat and attributed to the early phase of the Ghassulian culture (Rowan et al. 2006: Figs. 12.32:8, 10; 14; 12.33:1).

 

The finds from the excavation are dated to two main periods—the Early Chalcolithic (Wadi Rabah culture) and the Late Chalcolithic (Ghassulian culture), which were identified at the site in the past (Kaplan 1958; Gopher and Eyal 2017). The poor preservation of all the finds indicates that they were brought by the stream together with the pebbles and therefore it may be securely determined that they were not in situ.