In November 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted on a hilltop southwest of Tel Yarmut (Permit No. A-7232; map ref. 19695/62343; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of the Neighborhood D3 in Ramat Bet Shemesh. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by N. Sapir, with the assistance of A. Melman and A. Nagar (area supervision), N. Nahama (administration), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography) and N. Zak (plans).
The excavation yielded a stone clearance heap (Area A; Fig. 2), remains of a building (Area B) and a section of a road (Area C) that were previously documented in a survey performed in the region in 2010 (License S-183/2010; Sites 84–86). The remains, located in farmland, were most probably related to the agricultural activity conducted in this region. No datable finds were discovered in the excavation.
A site with a Byzantine-period farmstead or large monastery that was re-inhabited in the Early Islamic period was recently exposed c. 1.2 km southeast of the excavation area (Permit No. A-7184). The complex included impressive buildings, mosaic floors, oil presses, a rock-cut winepress, hewn installations and a burial cave decorated with a cross. The region was surveyed in the past (Dagan 2010
: Site 283).
Area A (Figs. 3, 4). A heap of small cleared fieldstones (L100; c. 6.5 × 9.0 m, height c. 0.3 m) was exposed. It was enclosed on its western side by a row of medium and large fieldstones (W10). The stones were piled on the bedrock, and soil had accumulated in natural depressions in the rock (L101).
Area B (Figs. 5, 6). Remains of an asymmetrical structure (6.50 × 8.15 m) were exposed. It was built partly on bedrock sloping to the west and partly on a thin accumulation of soil covering the bedrock. The walls of the building (W20–W23) were constructed of medium and large fieldstones, some of which were roughly hewn, and were preserved to a height of one to two courses. A thin partition wall (W24) abutting W20 divided the northern part of the building. Wall 24 was built of one row of medium-sized fieldstones, and unlike the building’s exterior walls it was constructed on a thick accumulation of soil; it is therefore possible that it was built in a later phase of the building’s use. The structure might have been used as a paddock or field tower.
Area C (Fig. 7, 8). A section of an agricultural road running in a general east–west direction (L301; average overall width 4.4 m) was revealed. The road was visible along the surface for a distance of c. 150 m and was one of many such roads located in the region. It was bounded by two rows of variously sized fieldstones placed on the surface, without any type of preparation; some of the stones were set on the bedrock and others on a layer of soil. On the bedrock between the two rows of stones was an accumulation of soil with no bedding. The road followed the terrain that sloped from east to west.