In July 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Be’er Halaf region, south of Ramat Bet Shemesh (Permit No. A-6849; map ref. 198993–9001/623597–605; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by I. Radashkovsky, with the assistance of N. Nahama (administration), B. Touri (safety), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), S. Gendler and Y. Tzur (preparation of the excavation area), A. Eirikh-Rose and P. Betzer (consultation) and D. Ben-Ami (consultation and scientific guidance).
The rock-hewn cistern was bell-shaped (L5; diameter c. 4 m, presumed depth 1.46–2.06 m; Fig. 2). Its walls were partially treated with white plaster. Due to the debris and water that had accumulated at the bottom of the cistern, it was impossible to ascertain the depth of the installation or the nature of the plaster. The cistern’s opening, situated at its northeastern end, was relatively wide (L2; 1.0 × 1.6 m; Fig. 3). Three feeder channels drained into the opening, two of which were rock-hewn and one that was partly natural. The northern channel (L2; length 1.22 m, width 0.12–0.18 m, depth 0.21 m; Fig. 4) was quarried in the bedrock in a north–south direction. Its southern end led into the cistern’s opening; its northern end led to a natural depression. The southern channel (L3; length 0.6 m, width 0.12 × 0.40 m, depth 0.11 m; Fig. 5) was hewn in bedrock in a north–south direction. Its northern end adjoined the cistern’s southern wall. The northeastern channel (L4; length 2.31 m, width 0.6–0.8 m; Figs. 6, 7) began in a natural depression but its continuation was adapted for use, as indicated by the chisel marks in it. The channel did not lead directly to the cistern, but the natural incline of the bedrock directed the water toward the installation’s opening. The channel’s northeastern end, severed during the development work, was originally longer.
Due to safety constraints, only the exterior of the cistern was cleared. As no pottery sherds were discovered, it was impossible to date the site. This cistern joins a multitude of rock-hewn installations that were previously exposed in the region.