In July 2013, a small trial excavation was conducted in a privately owned agricultural field near Tavor Junction (Permit No. A-6846; map ref. 23702/72977), following the discovery of archaeological remains in trial trenches that were dug prior to laying a gas line. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Israel Natural Gas Lines, was directed by K. Covello-Paran (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), R. Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying) and A. Shapiro (GPS, maps).
Four squares were excavated (I–IV; Fig. 2). Archaeological finds were found only in Square III, which was excavated to a maximum depth of 0.6 m. Prior to the excavation, an overburden of agricultural soil was removed down to the wall tops of the in-situ archaeological layer. The excavation exposed the fragmentary remains of a single-stratum building dating to the Early Bronze Age. The remains included a curvilinear wall (W102), a narrower interior dividing wall (W106) and a floor (L105; Fig. 3).
The segment of W102 (preserved length 2.1 m, width 0.6 m) lay directly over the natural, gravelly basalt bedrock (Hizriyya) and had a slight curvilinear angle (Fig. 4). The wall was faced on both sides with medium-sized to large stones, and had a core of small-sized filler stones; only one course was preserved. The wall presumably carried a mud-brick superstructure, although no mud-bricks were preserved in the excavated area. The fragmentary W106 (preserved length 0.9 m, width 0.3 m) was probably an internal partition wall that closed off an area within the structure. Abutting W102 were fragmentary remains of a floor (L105) comprising a layer of small limestone and basalt stones that lay directly upon the natural bedrock. Only a few pottery sherds and flint stones were found in association with the floor. Among the pottery sherds was a body sherd bearing grainwash decoration and a single rim of a platter. These finds date the building remains to EB I or II.
The present excavation provides evidence, albeit not conclusive, for the expansion of the Early Bronze Age occupation of Tel Qishyon to the northwest. The area was not inhabited after the abandonment of the structure, and the settlement shrunk southward, toward the central part of the site.
In addition to the archaeological excavation, numerous probe trenches were dug using a backhoe. They confirmed the absence of any other archaeological remains in the area investigated, explaining the low density of finds in this part of the site. It is possible to conclude that this area was on the margins of the site, with only minimal occupation during the Early Bronze Age.
Amiran R. and Cohen C. 1977. Tel Qishyon. IEJ
Arnon C. and Amiran R. 1993. Tel Kishion. NEAEHL 3. Jerusalem. Pp. 873–874.
Cohen-Arnon C. and Amiran R. 1981. Excavations at Tel Qishion: Preliminary Report on the 1977 1978 Seasons. Eretz-Israel 15:205–212 (Hebrew).