In March 2019, a trial excavation was carried out at the Nahal Pattish site (Permit No. A-8488; map ref. 218500–410/571739–632; Fig. 1) prior to development. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Bene Shim‘on Regional Council, was directed by H. Mamalya (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Alamor (administration) and E. Aladjem (mapping and plans), as well as S. Talis and Y. Abadi-Reiss (consultation and guidance).
The excavation took place in the southern wing of the Duda’im waste disposal facility, at the top of two parallel spurs divided by a small wadi that is part of the Nahal Pattish drainage basin. Remains of a field tower and an installation, perhaps a tomb, were uncovered, without datable finds.
Numerous sites associated with agriculture have been found in various wadi beds of the Nahal Pattish basin, along the southern foot of the spurs. These include field walls, cisterns, dams, agricultural structures and installations from the Byzantine and the Ottoman periods (Shemesh 2018: Sites 22–40). A development survey at the Nahal Duda’im site, east of the current excavation, identified structures and cisterns attributed to the agricultural hinterland of the large settlements in the vicinity—Khirbat el-‘Umari and Horbat Karkor ‘Illit (Varga, Talis and Aladjem 2012). An excavation at the Nahal Pattish site, southwest of the current excavation, unearthed remains of a large settlement from the Chalcolithic period, as well as a complex of dwellings from the Byzantine period (Nahshoni 2010). An excavation at Horbat Karkor ‘Illit, northeast of the current excavation, unearthed a Byzantine-period church with a mosaic floor, numerous architectural remains and graves of Christian saints (Figueras 1992; 2004).
Field tower (Figs. 2, 3). At the top of the eastern spur a square structure (3.7 × 4.0 m), whose corners faced the four cardinal directions, was discovered. Its walls (W50–W53; width 0.35 m, max. height 0.4 m), were built of medium and small fieldstones that were partially worked and bonded with mortar; they were preserved to a height of one to two courses. Around the structure were several stones that had fallen from the walls (L101). Wall 50 was cut off, and the corner with W53 could not be found, possibly as this was the entrance to the building. The structure had a beaten-earth floor (L103) that had been laid on the natural soil (L104). In the center of the structure was a stone heap (L100, L102; depth 0.91 m); the stones apparently filled a pit that was dug after the building went out of use.
Installation (L54; length 2 m; Figs. 4, 5). At the top of the western spur, 280 m west of the field tower, was an ovoid installation: a wall (W55) built of fieldstones and locally quarried ashlars set on their long side. Stones whose tops were leveled and worked were set at the base of the western part of the installation. A few fallen stones (L201) were found around the installation. The ovoid shape of the installation, its dimensions and construction suggest that it was a tomb.
Figueras P. 1992. Horbat Karkur ‘Illit – 1989/1990. ESI 10:153–154.
Figueras P. 2004. Horvat Karkur ‘Illit: A Byzantine Cemetery Church in the Northern Negev (Final Report of the Excavations 1989–1995) (Beer-Sheva XVI). Be’er Sheva‘.
Nahshoni P. 2010. Nahal Pattish. HA-ESI 122.
Shemesh N. 2018. Be’er Sheva West – 127 (Israel Archaeological Survey) (Hebrew).
Varga D. Talis S. and Aladjem E. 2012. Nahal Duda’im, Survey. HA-ESI 124.