During May 2005 trial excavations were conducted at Nahal Timna (Permit No. A-4460*; map ref. NIG 19155–80/63015–30; OIG 14155–80/13015–30). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by H. Stark (photography), with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), I. Berin (drafting), I. Lidski-Reznikov (pottery drawing) and A. Nagorsky.
Four squares were excavated. Two squares (A, B) were close to the mound and a stone wall, apparently a terrace wall, was visible on surface. Building remains were found in these squares, as well as pottery, dating to the Persian, Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. Two additional squares (C, D) were located over a concentration of stones in the fields east of the mound. Excavation of these squares revealed the remains of two small stone clearances heaps with no diagnostic artifacts (Fig. 2). Since the fields were farmed until the early 1970s, these features probably dated from modern times (Figs. 3, 4).
Additionally, the alignment of a village pathway leading from Nahal Timna toward the southeast was also mapped (see Fig. 1). This pathway (length 55 m, width 4.5 m) was lined on either side by two parallel rows of fieldstones.
Square A, at the foot of the site, comprised the remains of the eastern, external wall of a structure (W1; length 3.3 m; Fig. 5) and possibly, the remains of a stone floor (Fig. 6). The wall was built of large (0.7 × 1.0 m) dry-laid fieldstone blocks with roughly rounded corners that overlaid a foundation of smaller rounded stones. A patch of flat stones (L109; 1.2 × 1.3 m) in the southwestern corner of the square was perhaps the remains of a stone floor.
Square B revealed that the wall visible on surface was indeed a terrace wall (length 4 m; Figs. 7, 8). The partially collapsed wall was constructed from a single course of medium-sized rounded fieldstones (diam. c. 0.5 m).
Pottery recovered from the structure in Sq A (L109, L111) consisted of an amphora (Fig. 9:1) and a mortarium (Fig. 9:2), dating to the Persian period; an Early Roman-period jar (Fig. 9:3) and the foot of a Hellenistic-period amphora (Fig. 9:4). The pottery found outside the building (L103) included mortaria dating to the Persian period (Fig. 9:5, 6), an Attic-style bowl, dating to the Hellenistic period (Fig. 9:7), bowls dating to the Early Roman period (Fig. 9:8–10); jars from the Hellenistic period (Fig. 9:11), the Early Roman period (Fig. 9:12, 13) and the Byzantine period (Fig. 9:14, 15), as well as the foot of an unidentified stone vessel (Fig. 9:16).
The pottery retrieved from the excavation on both sides of the terrace wall in Sq B, to virgin soil, provided information on the date of the fills, accumulating behind the wall and possibly, on the date of the wall itself. Pottery found south of the terrace wall (L104) included mortaria dating to the Persian period (Fig. 9:17, 18) and a juglet dating to the Hellenistic period (Fig. 9:19). Finds from the north side of the wall (L112) included a pared lamp from the Second Temple period (Fig. 9:20). The cleaning the wall (L110) yielded jars dating to the Persian period (Fig. 9:21, 22).
The excavation exposed the partial remains of a structure and a terrace wall. The pottery from the structure dated to the Persian, Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, yet no definitive date for the structure could be obtained. Additional material from outside the building indicated that the site was occupied in the Byzantine period.