During November–December 2003, a salvage excavation was conducted along the fringes of Khirbat Burnat (Permit No. A-4067; map ref. 19617–24/65736–7), following the discovery of ancient remains during the installation of a water pipeline. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Meqorot Water Company, was directed by H. Torge, with the assistance of the late S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), T. Kanias (preliminary inspections) and M. Shuiskaya (drawing of finds).
Two half squares were excavated 15 m apart, along the course of the pipeline, on the edge of a road near the reservoir. No ancient finds were exposed below the roadbed in the western square, possibly because they were damaged during the pipeline’s installation; two habitation levels that dated to Early Bronze Age II were discovered in the eastern square, near the reservoir’s fence (Fig. 1).
A tamped-earth floor with a thin layer of organic material was exposed in the upper level (L101). Poorly preserved pottery vessels (Fig. 2) and a few flint implements, including sickle blades (Fig. 3:1, 2), were discovered in situ on the floor. Underlying it was another layer that contained wall remains (W1), which had been severed by mechanical equipment. The end of W1 was inclined to the south (W3) and it seems that originally, it was connected to a wall (W2) and delimited a residential unit. The tamped-earth floor of this unit (L103; Fig. 4) was preserved in small sections alongside bedrock that also served as a floor.
Numerous fragments of pottery vessels that dated to Early Bronze Age II, mostly body fragments of cooking pots (Fig. 3:3, 4), as well as a rim of a jar/goblet (Fig. 3:5), were discovered on the floor and the bedrock around the walls.
The results of the excavation show that the eastern square was located within the precincts of the ancient city and that the city wall probably extended between the two squares.