In March 2012, a trial excavation was conducted on Tel Ashqelon (Permit No. A-6468; map ref. 156890–942/619093–146; Fig. 1), prior to the renovation of a building. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Nature and Parks Authority, was directed by Y. Haimi, with the assistance of Y. Al-ʽAmor (administration) and M. Kunin (surveying and drafting).
One square (4 × 4 m) was opened inside a building that was constructed in the 1960s, c. 100 m from the beach; no previous archaeological excavations were conducted in this area. Building remains of an unclear date were exposed (Fig. 2). The small excavation area was filled with collapsed stones and roof tiles (L1; Fig. 3); under the collapsed stones and between them were several architectural remains. A double vault (L2; thickness 1.2 m; Figs. 2: Section 1–1; 4; 5) that rested on an ashlar-built wall (W101) was exposed in the southwestern corner of the square. The southern face of an ashlar-built wall (W102; length 3 m) was exposed in the northeastern part of the square; it may belong to the same building as W101. A large ashlar (L4; 1.0 × 1.2 m; Fig. 6) was discovered in the northwestern corner of the excavation square. The collapsed tiles in the western part of the square lay on a partially worked lime stone block, in which an opening was discerned (L5; Fig. 7). The stone may have served as part of the roof and the opening served for a chimney. A row of stones (W104) could be discerned in the eastern part of the collapse, but it is unclear whether this was a wall. Wall 101 was constructed over a round installation built of ceramic tiles, probably an oven that was used in an earlier phase (L6, W103; see Fig. 4).
The excavation was suspended due to safety concerns. It was thus impossible to determine the relationship between W2 and the possible remains of a ceiling to its south. Numerous pottery sherds that date from the Iron Age to the twelfth century CE were found in the excavation.