In April 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted in the village of Sulam (Permit No. A-7088; map ref. 231830–870/723650–85; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the developer, Mr. Zo‘abi Sa‘id, was directed by F. Abu Zidan, with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi (administration), R. Mishayev and R. Liran (surveying), Y. Bibas (photography), A. Shapiro (GPS) and H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing).
The current excavation was conducted in the northeast of the village, c. 50 m north of the slopes of the ancient tell in the village center, which serves today as a cemetery.
The excavation area (50 sq m) yielded three concentrations of small fieldstones (L10, L12, L19; Fig. 2). The stones were randomly placed and did not exhibit any construction lines. The nature of the stones is unclear.
In the south of the excavation, next to one concentration of stones (L19), was a layer of light-colored tamped soil, possibly a habitation level.
Two layers of ash (L20, L21) were visible in the sections of two probes (L17, L18; both c. 1.5 × 2.0 m); several human skeletons were found scattered above them but showed no sign of a proper burial (Fig. 2: Section 1–1).
The accumulation above the ash layers yielded potsherds, which included t six bowls (Fig. 3:1–6), a lid (Fig. 3:7), a frying pan (Fig. 3:8) and three jars (Fig. 3:9–11), all dating from the late Byzantine – early Umayyad period (seventh–eighth centuries CE), as well as a bronze ring (Fig. 4).
The very meager finds unearthed in the limited excavation area indicate that it lay outside the boundaries of the ancient settlement. This is reinforced by the absence of architectural remains.
The human skeletons found above the ash levels were scattered, having no archaeological context. It was thus impossible to determine whether the site contained pit graves that were covered with stone heaps, or whether the remains belonged to people who fell in a battle that may have taken place here in the seventh century CE during the Persian invasion in 614 CE.