During August 2010, a trial excavation was conducted along the slope east of Mevasseret Ziyyon (Permit No. A-5983; map ref. 2171–3/6349–51; Fig. 1), prior to hewing a railroad tunnel (Tunnel 3A). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Israel Railway Authority, was directed by M. Haiman (field photography), with the assistance of M. Kunin (surveying).
Probe trenches (L100–L104; Fig. 2) were dug in four terraces (100, 101, 102, 104), located in a steep mountainous region where the slopes are covered with numerous farming terraces, along the planned access route to the tunnel. A few non-diagnostic body fragments of store jars were found.
Farming Terrace 100 (width 2–4 m; Figs. 3, 4) rests on a retaining wall (W105; length c. 30 m, width 0.8 m) that faces downhill. The wall, set on bedrock terrace (height c. 0.4 m), was built of two rows of fieldstones (length 0.5 m) with a core of small stones. The bedrock was exposed in a probe (L100; 1.5 x 3.5 m) below a layer of soil (depth 0.3–0.5 m) that became deeper further down the slope toward the east.
Farming Terrace 101 (max. width c. 3 m; Figs. 5, 6) is L-shaped and rests on a retaining wall (W106; length c. 40 m, width 0.7 m; height 0.4–1.0 m), built of two rows of fieldstones (max. length 0.4 m) piled one atop the other. The bedrock was exposed in a trench (L101; 1.5 x 3.0 m) below a layer of soil (max. depth 0.5 m).
Farming Terrace 102 (length 75 m, width 6–25 m; Figs. 7, 8) rests on a retaining wall (W107, W108; width 0.7 m; height c. 0.5 m), which is built of two rows of fieldstones (max. length 0.4 m) and a core of small stones. Two probes were opened. Bedrock and earth mixed with various size stones below a layer of soil (depth 0.2–0.5 m) were revealed in the first probe (L102; 1.5 x 5.5 m) and bedrock with pockets of earth mixed with stones was exposed below a layer of soil (depth 0.5 m) in the other probe (L103; 1 x 3 m; Figs. 9, 10).
Farming Terrace 104 (length c. 30 m, max. width 8 m; Figs. 11, 12) rests on a retaining wall (W109; length 28 m, width 0.8 m, height c. 0.6 m), built of two rows of fieldstones (max. length 0.6 m); the downhill side made use of large stones. Bedrock was exposed in a probe (L104; 2 ´ 6 m) below a layer of soil (depth 0.5 m).