Nahal Naʽim

Noa Shaul and Alexander Fraiberg
Final Report
In January 2010, a salvage excavation was conducted at Ne’ot Hovav (formerly: Ramat Hovav), northwest of Nahal Naʽim (Permit No. A-5804; map ref. 177526–47/561707–25; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of evaporation ponds. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Bromide Compounds Company, was directed by N. Shaul and A. Fraiberg, with the assistance of Y. el-Amorr (administration), A. Hajian and T. Kornfeld (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), P. Fabian and Y. Abadi-Reiss (scientific guidance), N. Zak (plan), N.S. Paran and laborers from Rahat.
Remains of a rectangular building (internal dimensions c. 4 × 5 m; Figs. 2, 3) were exposed on a plain, c. 550 m northwest of Nahal Naʽim. The structure was documented in a survey performed in the area prior to the excavation (License No. S-144/2009). It consisted of a single room bounded by four walls (W1 – width 0.5 m, preserved height 0.47 m; W2—width 0.5 m, preserved height 0.5 m; W3—width 0.5 m, preserved height 0.28 m; W4—width 0.2 m, preserved height 0.14 m). The walls were founded on mortar mixed with small stones and built of soft limestone blocks (c. 0.10 × 0.25 m × 0.35 m), several of which were dressed. Similar mortar was used to bond the stones of the wall. Neither the floor nor the entrance to the building were discovered. An accumulation of soil that yielded stone elements from the Byzantine period, including a column drum (L104) was discovered inside the building. These stone items were evidently brought to the structure from the remains of a Byzantine-period farm situated c. 300 m to the north; the farm remains were not excavated. Ottoman-period pottery sherds, consisting mainly of Gaza ware, were discovered around the building. The structure was isolated and probably served as a field tower. The ceramic finds suggest that the building was constructed at the end of the Ottoman period or during the British Mandate (nineteenth–twentieth centuries CE).
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