In June 2020, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Har Tuv B Industrial Zone at Bet Shemesh (Permit No. A-8766; map ref. 19899–910/63045; Fig. 1), after antiquities were discovered in trial trenches made prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Michael Asha, was directed by M. Hemed (field photography), with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), S. Halevi (field photography and photogrammetry), A. Rose (drafting), J. Roskin (geology), S. Gendler (metal detection), Y. Weingarten and D. Ben Ayoun (antiquities inspection) and T. Kanias, A. Shadman and Y. Zelinger (consultation).
Five excavation squares were opened in the center of a spur, approximately 1 km southeast of Tel Zor‘a. The nearby region was surveyed in the past (Nagorsky 2012); a recent excavations to the south of the current excavation area uncovered an ancient agricultural road (Gendler 2021; Fig. 1: A-8529) and a field wall (Fig. 1: A-8741). Previous surveys of the region had not identified the site, since it was buried beneath soil fills.
The excavation uncovered part of an oval ashlar installation built into the ground, of which wall sections and a floor were preserved (Figs. 2, 3). The wall (length 7.8 m, height 1.3 m) was built of ashlars, some of them ancient stones in secondary use, and was preserved to the height of four courses. The courses in the center of the wall were stepped, probably as a result of ground movement. The wall was built on the floor (3.1 × 6.1 m) which was also made of ashlars, some of them ancient stones, lintels and architectural features in secondary use. The paving stones were laid in straight rows in an east–west direction, except for the northeastern part, where the stones were laid in rows from north to south. No diagnostic finds were recovered from beneath the floor. The installation was covered with soil fills and modern refuse. Above the upper wall course lay a pile of stones (collapsed stones? a stone-clearance heap?), some of them ashlars and some fieldstones.