During April 2010, a trial excavation was conducted within the precincts of the Ibthan antiquities site (North; Permit No. A-5899; map ref. 20486–9/69697–700), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Mr. M. Zidan, was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), H. Ben-Ari (GPS), A. Peretz (field photography) and A. Gorzalczany (guidance).
Tel Ibthan is located on a hill in the eastern Sharon, southeast of the large tells on the northern Sharon Plain: Yamma, Jatt and Tel Zeror. Previous excavations on the tell (HA-ESI 118; HA-ESI 122
; Permit No. A-5767) exposed remains of a building dating to the Early Roman period, a building identified as a tower from the Byzantine period, and potsherds that ranged in date from Middle Bronze Age II until the Byzantine period.
The current excavation area is located northeast of the tell, on leveled ground in an olive grove (Fig. 1). One and a half excavation squares (A1, A2; Fig. 2) were opened in the southern part of the area and a half square (B1) was opened in the northeastern part; a Roman roadbed was exposed.
The surface layer (thickness 0.3 m) was removed with the aid of mechanical equipment. A broad wall (W102; length 9 m, width 1 m; Fig. 3) was discovered at a depth of c. 0.5 m in Squares A1 and A2. It was built of small and medium fieldstones and aligned east–west. Wall 102 somewhat curved to the south in the east and was slightly inclined to the north in the west. A roadbed of small fieldstones (L103; thickness 0.4–0.5 m; Fig. 4) that abutted the northern side of W102 was exposed in Squares A1 and B1. A probe dug in the roadbed in Square A1 revealed that it rested on black soil, which was set on the bedrock (Fig. 2: Section 1-1). Medium-sized fieldstones (L109) were exposed on the roadbed in the northeastern side of Square A2.
The ceramic finds discovered inside and above the roadbed dated to the Early Roman period (first century CE) and included a cooking krater (Fig. 5:1), cooking pots (Fig. 5:2, 3) and jars (Fig. 5:4–7).