During July 2000 a salvage excavation was conducted at Khirbat esh-Shubeika (Permit No. 3253; map ref. NIG 21650/76900; OIG 16650/26900; see Eretz Zafon) in the wake of damage to ancient remains located in the Even Ve-Sid quarry, caused by the Israel Electric Corporation. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by D. Syon and L. Porat, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration) and L. Kupershmidt (coin cleaning).
Three squares (A–C) were opened. Most of the finds were discovered in Sq B, which consisted of two strata, dating to the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Early Islamic period.
Square A, which was opened c. 10 m west of the church remains that were exposed in the previous excavations, contained modern finds that were apparently connected to the quarrying activity. In the western half of Sq C, which was opened several meters south of Sq A, more recent finds were revealed; in its eastern half, several very large ancient masonry stones were discovered, together with a few potsherds and an Umayyad coin that was minted in Ramla.
Square B was expanded southward (Fig. 1). A wall (W14), belonging to Stratum I, was exposed in the eastern part of the square. The threshold in the wall led east into the building; inside were two floors (Loci 13, 16) paved with stone slabs and separated by a wall (W15). To the west of W14 was an open area, probably the building’s courtyard, which had a beaten-earth floor. Based on the ceramic finds, Stratum I should probably be dated to the beginning of the Early Islamic period.
At a depth of c. 1 m below the courtyard's floor an accumulation of soil and fragments of pottery vessels (L12) was discovered, dating to the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods, as well as two coins, one of the emperor Trajan Decius minted in Antioch (249–251 CE; IAA 102621) and the second, an Umayyad coin from the Damascus mint (IAA 102622). Stratum II was revealed below the foundation level of W14 and included several walls (Walls 18, 19, 27, 29, 31) that had a different orientation from Stratum I. These walls were built directly on bedrock and preserved c. 1 m high. Walls 18 and 19 formed a corner, which housed a small rectangular installation (L26, enclosed by W24 and W25), whose purpose is unclear. Outside of Walls 18 and 19, between the top of the walls and the occupation level (L20), c. 0.7 m lower, was a fill that included a large amount of pottery fragments, consisting of a limited number of vessel types. A preliminary examination of the pottery indicates that most of them are from the Byzantine period and a few date to the Late Roman period.
The strata uncovered in this area complement the finds from the previous excavations at the site, which indicate that after having been abandoned for a short time, the Late Byzantine settlement was renewed in the Early Islamic period.