During June–July 2000, a trial excavation was conducted at Horbat Avimor (Kh. Ras Abu Murra; Permit No. A-3452*; map ref. NIG 19740/63550; OIG 14740/13550) prior to the renewal of a pre-existing petroleum pipeline. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by Kav Petroleum Products Ltd., was directed by A. Golani, with the assistance of O. Dubovsky (area supervision and surveying), M. Hyman and L. Barda (GPS), M. Ben-Gal (pottery restoration), C. Hersch (pottery drawing), I. Berin (drafting) and Z. Greenhut (district archaeologist).
The site is approximately 30 dunams in size and includes an elevated and prominent acropolis (268 m asl) and a lower settlement, situated on a wide terrace to the south and west of the summit. Previous surveys identified rock-cut installations northeast of the summit and numerous architectural remains on the acropolis and lower terrace. Ceramic evidence from these surveys indicated an occupation during the Chalcolithic/Early Bronze, Middle Bronze and Iron II periods. Two excavation areas were opened: Area A at the lower southern side of the hill and Area B, excavated as one square on the southwestern edge of the hill's summit (Fig. 1).
Six squares (A1, A3–A7), adjacent to the north and along the line of the pipeline trench, were opened (Fig. 1). In addition, several probes were conducted, using mechanical equipment. Bedrock was reached in Sq A1 below a thin layer of light gray alluvium. The other squares revealed a similar alluvium layer (thickness 0.2–0.5 m) above a very compacted sterile marl layer, whose base was not reached. None of these squares yielded any archaeological remains, in situ.
Numerous architectural remains on the surface were visible on the acropolis of the site. A single square was opened where a few walls appeared to have formed the outline of a room. The excavation uncovered a small portion of a massive building, wherein two construction phases may be identified. Limited ceramic evidence of the Chalcolithic/Early Bronze and Iron II periods was encountered. The excavation did not extend below this building’s floors and walls.
Phase 1. The earliest phase was only partially exposed and included the remains of two large walls, W501 and W503 (Fig. 2). Wall 501 (width 1 m) was built of two rows of large boulders with smaller stones in between. The southeastern end of this wall was squared off, apparently forming an entryway with W503, which was quite massive (width 1.5 m); it was constructed from three rows of large boulders with smaller stones in between. Since the base of both walls was not reached, the date of their construction remains unclear.
Phase 2. In this later phase that was more fully exposed, W501 formed the southwestern wall of a room, which was enclosed with W500 in the northwest, W502 in the northeast, and W504 in the southeast (Fig. 3). Wall 500 and W502 (width 1.4 m) consisted of large to medium-sized fieldstones with smaller stones in between. An entryway may have once existed between W500 and W501. This entrance was found blocked with medium to large-sized fieldstones. A smaller wall in the southeast (W504) was built over the previous Phase 1 entryway, between W501 and W503. A segment of W503, originally constructed during Phase 1, was dismantled, and between it and W504 a small corridor was created, leading into the room. A rough stone pavement (L23) in the room was associated with the base of W500, W502 and W504 (Fig. 4). This pavement was overlaid with a destruction debris layer that contained many crushed store jars (Fig. 5).
The ceramic material (Fig. 6: Bowls [1–6]; a cooking pot ; store jars [8–12]; a jug ; a flask  and a lamp ) associated with the room of Phase 2 may be dated to late Iron II–early Persian period (late sixth–fifth centuries BCE). An earlier settlement phase was indicated by a burnished Judean folded-rim bowl (Fig. 6:4). Among the various ceramic forms, the mortarium (Fig. 6:6), the thin-walled, high-necked cooking pot (Fig. 6:7) and the store jars with out-turned (Fig. 6:8, 10) and folded-over rims (Fig. 6:9, 11, 12) should be noted. A four-handled store jar (Fig. 6:12) has an impressed wedge design upon its shoulder, which is a well-known decorative feature of the very late Iron Age, usually found on bowls and kraters, yet unknown on store jars.