Area A extended across a hill, rising from the southeastern bank of one of the tributaries of Nahal Hovav. Six rectangular Iron Age IIA rock-hewn tombs (L100–L105; 1.3 × 2.5 – 1.6 × 3.2 m; Fig. 2), covered with large roughly hewn chalk slabs (Fig. 3), were discovered on the hill’s southern slope. Some of the tombs had been plundered, others were disturbed in modern times. Human bones were discovered in two tombs, together with intact pottery vessels, copper jewelry and stone beads. On the hilltop were remains of a building enclosed on three sides. The walls, preserved to the height of a single course (0.3 m), were built of fieldstones set on bedrock. These were apparently the building’s foundations. The floor was not preserved.
Area B extended across hills rising from the northern and southern banks of one of the tributaries of Nahal Hovav. A round structure (diam. 3.5 m; Fig. 4) built on bedrock was exposed on a low hilltop on the southern bank of Nahal Hovav. The building had a circular wall (W20) preserved to the height of a single course (0.28 m) built of small and medium-sized fieldstones and chalk bonded with mortar. Three low steps (width 1 m) led to a doorway (width 1.2 m), fixed in the southeastern part of the building. The absence of finds inside and outside the building prevented an attribution of a date. A rock-hewn cistern (W220; current depth c. 3.6 m; Fig. 5) on the southern slope of a low hill on the northern bank of Nahal Hovav was exposed c. 300 m northwest of the circular building. Its opening was rectangular (c. 0.7 × 0.8 m) and it was built of partially dressed limestones. A feeder channel (L203; length c. 250 m, width c. 0.5 m, depth c. 0.2 m) that encircled the hill from the west and collected runoff from its northern and western slopes led to the cistern (Fig. 6).
Area C was opened on the spur running north–south between tributaries of Nahal Naʽim in the northeastern part of the excavation area. Remains of a circular installation (L300; Fig. 7) were discovered at the northern end of the area, its southern part enclosed by a curvilinear wall (W53) built of fieldstones. Stone collapse inside the installation and a wall running northeast–southwest in the installation’s center (W54; width 0.9 m, length 6.1 m) were exposed. Although the installation was not excavated down to its base, it appears to have been a dovecote.
Two Iron Age IIA structures were exposed c. 0.5 m deep into the natural loess that served as a foundation for the structures’ walls (Fig. 8). The walls were built of soft chalk fieldstones and mudbricks, found in the collapse inside the rooms. The floors of the rooms, which were 0.2–0.6 m lower than the base of the walls, were made of tamped loess. The northern structure (14 × 15 m), partially exposed, was built on the slopes of the moderate hill descending to the northwest; eight rooms and two courtyards were revealed. Another (southern) building, constructed on the moderate slope descending north and east, was 30 m south of the northern building. Its five rooms were dug into the natural loess to a depth of 0.2–0.3 m. In one of the rooms were two round stone installations. The northern installation was a hearth, its stones burnt and surrounded by ashes. Pottery vessels dating to Iron IIA, many grinding stones and stone pounders were found on the floors of the rooms and in the overlying accumulation.
Area D extended across the low hills on the northern and southern banks of Nahal Naʽim, in the northwestern part of the excavated area. Remains of an elliptical dovecote (outer east–west dimensions c. 7.4 m, north–south dimensions c. 7.9 m; Figs. 9, 10) were exposed on a low hilltop c. 100 m north of Nahal Hovav. It was built on bedrock and had four walls—a circular enclosure wall (W70) and three partition walls (W71–W73). The western part of W70 survived to a height of two courses (c. 0.45 m), but its eastern part was almost completely destroyed. The interior walls (width 0.8 m) of the dovecote were uniformly preserved to a height of a single course (0.30–0.35 m), constructed of two rows of dressed chalk and a fill of small fieldstones (0.15 × 0.40 – 0.10 × 0.30 m), partitioning the interior space into four equal sections. A passage (width 0.55 m) was between W71 and W72 and another passage (width 0.6 m) was between W71 and W73. The structure’s foundation was hewn to a depth of c. 0.15 m in chalk bedrock; from the bottom of the hollow, which was the floor of the dovecote (L401, L402, L404, L405), pigeon droppings were collected and used as fertilizer. The floor was exposed beneath an accumulation of sandy soil, and potsherds dating to the Late Byzantine–early Early Islamic periods and the Ottoman period were discovered, as well as animal bones (in addition to the pigeon bones). A depression in the ground c. 70 m east of the dovecote was probably the remains of a quarry that provided stones for the construction of the dovecote. The cistern in Area B, c. 650 m southeast of the dovecote, apparently provided the water needed for the installation. A field wall (W80; length 15 m, width 0.5 m; Fig. 11) that served as an agricultural terrace and was covered with alluvium, was exposed c. 100 m south of the dovecote, on the southern bank of one of the tributaries of Nahal Hovav. The wall was built of two rows of chalk set on sandy soil and was preserved to a height of two–five courses (max. 0.6 m). The bottom course was constructed of large stones (c. 0.20 × 0.25 × 0.40 m), some roughly hewn, and the other courses were built of small and medium-sized fieldstones (0.10 × 0.15 × 0.25 m).
Remains of cultures that existed for thousands of years were discovered: from an Iron IIA settlement to houses and agricultural installations from the Byzantine–Early Islamic periods. The settlements from different periods at Neʽot Hovav are part of the array of small settlements documented in the frontier region of the northern Negev. They served as dwellings for shepherds and farmers, controlled the roads in the desert and were established close to sources of water. The abundance of archaeological sites on the banks of the wadis stems from their proximity to available water sources and to agricultural areas and ancient roads that passed nearby. The available land suitable for growing grain and the high groundwater along the wadi bed attracted settlers who engaged in seasonal farming and sheep grazing.