In July–September 2019, a trial excavation followed by a salvage excavation were conducted south of Sheba Medical Center (Tel Ha-Shomer; Triangulation Point X-793; Permit Nos. A-8574, A-8586; map ref. 1855–6/6609–10), prior to road construction and development of a public area. The excavations, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Ayyalon Highways and the Ramat Gan Municipality, were directed by G. Itach, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), D. Masarwa and Y. Elisha (preliminary inspections), D. Golan (area supervision), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), I. Jonish (Field Photography and Photogrammetry), A. Dagot (GPS), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology), Y. Asscher (analytical laboratory) and Y. Tepper (guidance), as well as Y. Agmon, A. Glick, A. ‘Azab and D. Ben-Ami.
The excavation area extends over a hill (c. 10 dunams; c. 50 m asl), overlooking the coastal plain to the west and the Ono Valley to the south, c. 3 km north of Naḥal Ayyalon, c. 4 km west of Yehud (van den Brink et al. 2014; Jakoel and Be’eri 2016; Itach, Golan and Zwiebel 2017) and about 2 km east of Tel Bene Beraq (Finkelstein 1990:40; Be’eri et al. 2019; Fig. 1). In 1968, boys from Qiryat Ono found in the vicinity of the site two Hyksos scarabs and handed them over to the state treasuries (Ram Gophna, pers. comm.; Archives of the Israel Antiquities Authority). Following this finding, a survey was conducted in the area, and potsherds from the MB II were collected (Broshi and Gophna 1984:19; Gophna, Ayalon and Ben Melech 2015: Site 84).
25 squares were opened in three areas (A–C), yielding sections of floors, installation remains and occupation levels from the MB IIA. Remains of a plastered installation containing potsherds indicating activity at the site during the Late Roman period were also exposed.
The MB IIA period. Most of the remains uncovered in the excavation date from the MB IIA, but settlement at the site may have continued into the beginning of the MB IIB. In Area B, at the top of the hill, floor sections, a few fired mud-bricks and scant remains of several installations, the use of which is still undetermined, were exposed. Numerous pottery sherds were found (Figs. 2, 3), including bowls, cooking pots, jars and holemouth jars, jugs and juglets. A copper ax-head was also found. In area A, slightly south of the top of the hill, and in area C, on the eastern slopes of the hill, numerous abraded and worn potsherds were discovered.
The Late Roman period. In Area A, part of a plastered rectangular installation, possibly a basin for storing liquids (Fig. 4), was exposed near the surface. The walls of the installation were built of medium and small stones, with shells and bonding material between them. A vault springer was identified in the northern wall, and it is possible that the installation was originally roofed. The interior of the installation, its walls and floor were plastered with gray plaster. Inside the installation was black soil containing pottery sherds, mainly of jugs from the Late Roman period. The installation appears to have fallen out of use during this period, but as no potsherds were found in the walls of the installation or under its floor, its construction could not be dated. A few Roman-period potsherds, mostly abraded, were found also in Areas B and C.
The excavation revealed scanty remains of a settlement, probably part of a small village located at the top of the hill during the MB IIA. The remains from the Roman period may indicate some short-term activity at the site during this period.
Be’eri R., Golan D., Dayan A., Harpak T., Haklay G., Rudin T. and Karkovsky M. 2019. Bene Beraq, Tel (South). HA-ESI 131.
Brink E.C.M. van den, Shmueli O., Yannai E., Kolska Horwitz L. and Vadaei E. 2014. Middle Bronze Age IIA and Later Settlement Remains near Yehud on the Coastal Plain. ‘Atiqot 79:131–174.
Broshi M. and Gophna R. 1984. Palestine in the Middle Bronze II – Its Settlements and Population. Cathedra 31:3–26 (Hebrew).
Finkelstein I. 1990. Soundings at Ancient Bene-Beraq. ‘Atiqot (HS) 10:29–42 (Hebrew; English summary, pp. 13*–14*).
Gophna R., Ayalon E. and Ben Melech N. 2015. Petah Tikva – 71 (The Archaeological Survey of Israel).
Itach G., Golan D. and Zwiebel E. 2017. Yehud. HA-ESI 129.
Jakoel E. and Be’eri R. 2016. Yehud, Ha-‘Azma’ut Street. HA-ESI 128.