Expansion of a preexisting pipeline trench cut through and revealed the remains of a previously uninvestigated site, situated upon a gently sloping ridge and having an estimated area of c. 17 dunams (Fig. 1). Two excavation squares (A, B) were opened immediately to the north of the pipeline trench (see Fig. 1), aiming to clarify the stratigraphy and dating of the archaeological remains; a brief survey of the immediate area discerned several water cisterns and rock-cut installations. Remains of walls and floors associated with Middle Bronze Age IIB period were exposed in the two squares.
Square A was opened on the eastern half of a low rise, at the crest of the ridge. A large wall (W51; exposed length 5.5 m), oriented east–west and built of one row of large boulders laid directly upon bedrock, was discovered (Fig. 2). A rough pavement (L6) in the southwestern side of the square related to W51 and consisted of large flat stones laid between bedrock outcrops. This pavement was also associated with another stub of a wall (W50), built of one–two rows of large stones and boulders, which was parallel to and south of W51. The remains of another floor (L7) occurred to the south of W51 and east of W50; it was a packed-earth floor with small stones that overlaid a fill resting upon bedrock. To the north of W51 was a floor of packed earth and small stones (L5, L19) between bedrock outcrops. This floor was associated with W51 and W55, which was a north–south wall, abutting W51 and constructed from two courses of medium-sized stones with smaller stones in between. A packed-earth floor (L10) was revealed to the east of W55. All the floors and walls were overlaid with large amounts of stone rubble; they represented a single occupation phase that was dated by ceramic finds to the MB IIB period (see Fig. 5).
To the south of Sq A, a large portion of a flat and smoothed rock outcrop with a hewn step to its west was recorded (Fig. 2). This feature was interpreted as the remains of a quarry, although no connection was established between it and the architectural remains in Sq A.
Square B was situated 35 m to the east of Sq A and revealed two settlement phases.
Phase 1. The earliest phase was found within a light brown soil layer that overlaid a packed dark brown soil layer upon bedrock, containing limited ceramic remains of the MB II period. The light brown layer included the remains of a single wall (W57) oriented northeast–southwest and built of one row of large fieldstones that was related to a packed-earthen floor (L20, L21) to its east (Fig. 3).
Phase 2. The second phase was detected within a dark brown soil layer, directly overlaying the light brown soil layer of Phase 1 (Figs. 3, 4). Several walls (W52, W53, W54) were identified within the dark brown soil layer. They were built of one row of large to medium-sized fieldstones that appeared to delineate a rectangular structure. A beaten-earth floor with some small stones (L11) was found between the three walls; other, similar floors were noted to its northwest (L29) and southwest (L13).
The ceramic finds from both settlement phases in Sqs A and B were dated to the MB IIB period (Fig. 5: Bowls [1–7], a krater , cooking pots [9–10] and store jars [11–25]). The lack of earlier or later pottery indicates that occupation at the site was limited only to this period.