Three main areas (A–C; totaling c. 1.5 dunams; Fig. 1) were excavated and remains ascribed to four strata (4–1) were exposed. Remains of a large rural settlement from the Byzantine period (Strata 3, 2; fifth–seventh centuries CE), which apparently developed from the industrial area that existed in the fifth century CE (Stratum 4), were discovered. Following a hiatus in the occupation, the settlement was renewed toward the end of the Abbasid or the beginning of the Fatimid periods and lasted until the beginning of the Mamluk period (Stratum 1; eighth–thirteenth century CE).
All the buildings at the site were generally oriented northwest-southeast. The walls, built of sun-dried mud bricks, were plastered with mud and set on stone foundations in most instances. Foundation trenches filled with body fragments of jars were found at the base of some walls; this is a construction technique that efficiently drained water and moisture from the walls. The finds at the site were poorly preserved due to the mud-brick construction and the intensive modern agricultural activity in the area. The strata are described below from the earliest to latest.
Stratum 4. Remains of an industrial zone that specialized in pottery production were discovered, including kilns, manufacturing debris and an area for digging loess. The bottom parts of three mud-brick pottery kilns were exposed: one (diam. c. 3 m, preserved height 1.2 m; Fig. 2) was at the northern end of the excavation area and two adjacent kilns, severely damaged by the construction in the later strata (diam. c. 2.5 m, preserved height c. 0.2 m; Fig. 3), were c. 80 m to the south of it. A large pit (c. 6×8 m, depth c. 1.2 m) was revealed c. 40 m to the south of the kilns. The pit, dug into the loess soil, was filled with potsherds that belonged to just four types of vessels; ‘Gaza’ jars and three types of juglets. This was the production waste of the vessels that were manufactured at the time of Stratum 4. The vessels dated the layer to the Byzantine period (fifth–sixth centuries CE).
Stratum 3 was characterized by intensive construction of residential buildings alongside agricultural installations, indicating that the industrial area in this phase had developed into a settlement. Four structures were built in the northern part of the site, while an especially large structure (20×30 m) that included two paved courtyards and eight rooms was built in the southern part (Fig. 4). A winepress, which had survived only by the bottom part of the collecting vat (diam. 1.2 m; Fig. 3), was installed in the center of the site. The installation of the winepress negated the use of the pair of pottery kilns from Stratum 4. The rich assemblage of finds discovered on the floors of the southern building indicates that this stratum should also be dated to the Byzantine period (fifth–sixth centuries CE).
Stratum 2. The construction at the site continued in this stratum and the settlement reached the peak of its prosperity. Four new structures were built over the buildings in the northern part of the site; the new construction maintained the general alignment of the previous buildings (Fig. 5). The westernmost building was destroyed by fire and c. 30 complete bag-shaped store jars were found on the floors of two of its southern rooms, which apparently served as storerooms. A silo (Fig. 6) was incorporated in the outer wall of a building that extended some 5 m south of the large building. Two other silos in the central part of the site were probably connected to another building whose walls were barely preserved (Fig. 3). The remains of the winepress, which may also have been used in this stratum, were exposed next to this building. It seems that the large building in the southern part of the site continued to exist in this stratum; however, numerous changes were made to it (see Fig. 4), primarily the construction of partition walls in the two courtyards that were now divided into smaller spaces. Remains of a round installation (diam. c. 1 m) that contained a large amount of ash were exposed in the southwestern room; bronze balance scales and a lead weight were found nearby. Other installations, whose functions are unclear, were discovered in two other rooms of the building. The numerous finds that overlaid the floors of the buildings dated the stratum to the end of the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE). It seems that the settlement was abandoned at the end of the seventh century CE.
Stratum 1. At least two buildings were exposed, one in the northwestern part of the site and the other in the southern part, as well as a large number of refuse pits. The southern building was founded atop the northeastern part of the large building from Strata 3 and 2. The building remains, which were poorly preserved due to their close proximity to surface and hence, impossible to date, consisted only of segments of wall foundations. However, the multitude of ceramic artifacts discovered in the refuse pits seems to indicate that the settlement at the site was renewed at the end of the Abbasid–beginning of the Fatimid periods (eighth century CE) and apparently continued to exist until the beginning of the Mamluk period (thirteenth century CE).
The history of the settlement can be reconstructed in light of the excavation finds and the information gained from surveys and former excavations at the site and its surroundings over the years. The settlement began as an industrial area, which apparently belonged to Khirbat Lasan – a large settlement, c. 1 km southeast of the site, which was occupied from the Roman until the Mamluk periods. It seems that during the Byzantine period the ceramic industry became an important factor in the regional economy, with the establishment of numerous manufacturing centers, like the one discovered at the site and those in the region of Mefalsim, c. 4 km to the west (ESI 13:106–107). At this period, the site became a large village whose economy was based on agriculture and ceramic production. With the introduction of Islam in the seventh century CE, and probably as a result of this, the settlement was abandoned. By the Late Abbasid–beginning of the Fatimid periods, the settlement was renewed for a fairly long period, but on a very limited scale.