In May 2020, a trial excavation was conducted in the Har Tuv B industrial zone in Bet Shemesh (Permit No. A-8741; map ref. 198875–969/630811–904; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Tzachi Sasson Holdings Ltd., was directed by S. Gendler (metal detection), with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), S. Halevi (mapping, field photography and photogrammetry), Y. Weingarten, E. Aviv and D. Ben Ayoun (preliminary inspections) and Y. Sfez (numismatics), as well as A. Shadman, Z. Kanias, A. Kessler and N. Ben-Ari.
The excavation uncovered the remains of a wide wall that were part of an agricultural complex belonging to nearby ancient settlements (for background and references, see Gendler 2021). The wide wall (W103; length 5 m, width 1 m, preserved height 0.7 m; Fig. 2) was dry built on the bedrock and consisted of two rows of large fieldstones with a core of small fieldstones between them. A wall segment (W104) built of large fieldstones may be a continuation of W103. Near the two walls, the excavation recovered pottery (not drawn) from the Iron Age, as well as Roman, Byzantine and possibly the Early Islamic periods. The remains are probably those of an agricultural terrace wall, but the mixed finds cannot be used to establish when it was built. To the northeast of W103, a group of large fieldstones (W105) lay in a general north–south direction on top of a mixture of soil, worn potsherds and small stones; the stones had probably collapsed from a terrace wall that stood higher to the west.
Five coins were retrieved, four of which are dated to the Byzantine period. Two of the coins are surface finds, and they date from the mid-fourth century CE, one from 351–361 CE (minted in Heraclea; IAA 172601) and the other from 355–361 CE (minted in Constantinople; IAA 172599). Two other coins were found near W103, one dating from 341–346 CE (IAA 172600) and the other from 425–455 CE (IAA 172602). The pottery and coins evidently date the settlement sequence at nearby sites, since they were probably originally swept down from these sites.
Gendler S. 2021. Bet Shemesh, Har Tuv Industrial Zone (A). HA-ESI 133.