In June and July 2019, two salvage excavations were conducted at Zarnuqa, on Ha-Shoshan Street in the Qiryat Moshe neighborhood of Rehovot (Permits Nos. A-8533, A-8575; map ref. 180172/643112; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavations, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, were directed by V. Shustin, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), I. Jonish (photogrammetry and field photography), A. de Vincenz, P. Gendelman and A. Bouchenino (pottery), M. Shuiskaya (pottery), Y. Tepper (guidance), D. Ben-Ami, D. Barkan, and I. Radashkovsky.
The excavation uncovered two settlement strata dating from the Byzantine (II) and the late Ottoman (I) periods. Previous excavations at the site revealed remains from the Persian, Byzantine, Early Islamic and late Ottoman periods (for background and references, see Marmelstein 2014
Byzantine Period (Stratum II). The excavation uncovered a floor (L116; Fig. 2) set on a bedding (L115, L119) composed of earth and broken pottery. The pottery found in the bedding included bowls (Fig. 3:1, 2) from the Hellenistic period, as well as a mortarium (Fig. 3:3) and a cooking pot (Fig. 3:6) from the Byzantine period. A layer of soil (L114; thickness c. 0.1 m) on top of the floor yielded fragments of a cooking casserole (Fig. 3:4) and a jar (Fig. 3:8) dating from the Byzantine period. A wall (W104; Fig. 4) was built of medium-sized fieldstones on top of the soil layer and preserved to the height of a single course. The Hellenistic pottery may attest to earlier settlement at the site.
Ottoman Period (Stratum I). Remains of a structure and a wall that were partially excavated were documented on the surface (L102). The building was uncovered in the west of the area, where two walls (W107, W122; Fig. 5) delimit three rooms. Wall 107 was coated with reddish plaster on both sides. Wall 122 was not plastered. To the west of W122, in the southern part of the building, parts of a concrete floor (L124) abutted the wall; a toilet was installed in the floor (Fig. 6). A floor (L127) in the northern room abutted W107. Approximately 20 m east of the building, a wall (W101; Fig. 7) was abutted by a bedding made of gravel and modern debris.
Fragments of pottery vessels found above Floor 127 include a Byzantine cooking pot (Fig. 3:7) as well as a locally made bowl (Fig. 8:2), two Black Gaza Ware bowls (Fig. 8:3, 4), a cooking-pot handle (Fig. 8:5), a milk jug (mahlaba; Fig. 8:6), dating from the Ottoman period. A trench (L112) dug to the south of W107 yielded a Black Gaza Ware jug (Fig. 8:8). An Ottoman coffee cup (Fig. 8:1) and jug (Fig. 8:7) were collected from the surface.