Two excavation areas (A, B; Fig. 2), comprising two squares each, were opened c. 60 m apart. No antiquities were found in Area A; in Area B, remains of a well house and the upper part of the well shaft installed during the British Mandate were uncovered.
Several excavations conducted in the past in the vicinity of the current excavation uncovered settlement remains from the eighth–eleventh centuries CE (Haddad 2010 [Fig. 1: A-4768]; Torgë, Haddad and Toueg 2016 [Fig. 1: A-6903]; Toueg and Danziger 2019 [Fig. 1: A-8291]).
In Area B (Figs. 3, 4), a round well (L201; diam. 3 m) was excavated to a depth of 1.5 m. The upper, excavated part was dug in the ground and lined with fieldstones bonded with brownish red mortar that were covered with dressed and plastered chalk stones. As the well was only partially excavated, it remains unknown whether it was built in this way down its entire depth. The well was found filled with modern soil and debris, including part of a metal bar with a U-shaped cross-section like a railway-track rail (Fig. 5) that probably anchored the base of an installation belonging to the water-pumping system.
After the well was built, a rectangular structure was constructed above it—a well house. The remains of all its walls were uncovered (W202–W204, W208; wall width 0.5 m); they were built of dressed stones interspersed with fieldstones that were held together with red bonding material. Two concrete pillars of unclear function were revealed in Walls 203 and 208 (Fig. 3: Section 1–1). A one-mil coin minted in 1924 was found between the stones of W204. The southern part of the well house contained a concrete mount (L214): a wide square base and a narrow rectangular top part, in which six large screws were inserted to secure the motor that operated the pump. Grooves on the eastern face of the concrete mount formed a rectangular frame (0.4 × 0.9 m) with two additional screws (Fig. 6), to which was fixed an auxiliary drive wheel that rotated belts operating the pumping apparatus.
Outside the well house, near its southwestern corner, were two parallel walls (W209, W212) built of fieldstones. Wall 209 was adjoined on the east by a wall (W215) built of four-holed concrete blocks on top of a cast concrete base (0.25 × 0.40 m; Fig. 7). The function of the walls is not clear, but they may have supported a channel, via which water was flowed from the well. C. 10 m to the east of the well house was a concrete base (L216) that probably carried an installation known as a ‘water camel’. Such installations included a metal pipe that could be raised to a height of c. 2 m in order to fill tankers with water; the association between this installation and the well is not clear. A trial probe dug with a backhoe to the south of the well revealed a segment of a concrete pipe at a depth of c. 1.5 m.
The red mortar in the building’s walls, like that found in other wells and buildings from the late Ottoman and British Mandate periods, can date the construction of the well compound to either of these two periods (Arbel 2008). However, the coin found between the stones of W204 dates the well house to no earlier than 1924. Furthermore, the main building materials at the site and its immediate vicinity, such as the four-holed concrete blocks, along with the construction methods of the well shaft and the well house, resemble those found at other British Mandate sites in the Sharon region (Vitriol 2010:120). The mount for a motor found at the site shows that water was pumped and channeled using modern methods incorporating metal and concrete piping. In light of this data, the compound should be dated to the British Mandate era.
In a map from the end of the First World War, a railway line branching off from the Lod–Gaza railroad toward the well is marked near the excavation area, and a watchtower is also marked to the east (Fig. 8). This suggests that the well was used by a nearby British military camp during the First World War, possibly even for filling water tanks carried by railway freight cars. This may have been the camp of the officer-cadet school (later Hassan Salameh’s headquarters), which was built in the 1930s to the west of the excavation area. A quick survey conducted in the vicinity located another water installation c. 200 m north of the site (map ref. 186530/650195) that may also have been used by the British army. The use of chalk stones for lining well shafts in the coastal plain, where kurkar rock is common, characterizes high-quality construction, possibly even by an official entity, and the use of chalk in the well suggests that this and other wells in the area were built by the British Army to serve its military bases.