In April and May 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted at the site of el-Qubab (Permit No. A-8261; map ref. 195243–68/641985–2007) prior to the construction of a visitor center in Moshav Mishmar Ayyalon. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Elisha with the assistance of R. Toueg. Also assisted M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), Y. Amrani (administration), A. Dagot (GPS), P. Gendelman (scientific oversight and pottery) and N. Zak (plans), as well as Y. Kornfeld and A. ‘Azab of the IAA Central District.
El-Qubab was the site of a village until 1948; the Leh
i Forrest covers today part of the site. Guerin (1868:56–59) noted that it lay at a distance of about two hours walk from Ramla and less than an hour’s walk from Lat
run. Past excavations at the site (En Gedi 2006 [Fig. 1: A-3361]; Glick 2006
[Fig. 1: A-3305]; Lupo 2010
[Fig. 1: A-4871]; Haiman 2014
[Fig. 1: A-5261]; Shachar 2019
[Fig. 1: A-7699]) yielded a burial cave from the Second Temple period; two cisterns from the Roman period; remains of walls from the Byzantine period; a cist tomb and another cistern, from the Roman or Byzantine period; as well as a field wall and settlement remains from the Ottoman period. Sherds from the Early Islamic and Mamluk periods were also discovered.
The excavation was situated near the western boundary of the site, on the eastern slopes of a hill, c. 500 m northwest of the previous excavation. Two squares were opened, revealing scant remains of two walls running in a genera northeast–southwest direction (W105—length c. 6 m, width 0.8 m; W106—length c. 3 m, max. width 1.1 m; Figs. 2, 3). The walls, which were built of fieldstone (c. 0.4 × 0.5 m) and preserved one-two courses high, were about 1 m apart and belonged to one or two structures. The damaged remains of two floors were identified on either side of W105: a packed-earth floor to its southeast (L103) and a floor made of small stones to its northwest (L104). No earlier architectural remains were identified in three probes dug under these floors. The few potsherds found in the excavation (not drawn) date from the Iron Age II and the Early Roman period.
As pervious excavations uncovered remains from the Early Roman period, this seems to be the date of the uncovered remains. The pottery from the Iron Age II may indicate the existence of a nearby settlement of this period yet to be discovered.
En Gedi M. 2006. El-Qubab. ‘Atiqot 51:55–67.
Guérin V. 1868. Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine I: Judée I. Paris.