In April–May 2015 a trial excavation was conducted south of Lahavim (Permit No. A-7393; map ref. 181250-67/585353-493), prior to enlarging the community. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Lands Authority, was directed by F. Kobrin, with the assistance of M. Kunin and A. Hajian (surveying and drafting).
The site was discovered while digging trial trenches in an area south of Lahavim and north of Nahal ‘Aleqet (Fig. 1). An excavation (Permit No. A-6745) that was conducted previously in the vicinity of the site exposed a modern building.
Two areas (A, B; totaling 100 sq m) were opened in the current excavation: Area A, located on the northern slope of Nahal ‘Aleqet, and Area B, on a hill southwest of Area A.
Area A. Construction that included plaster remains and pottery sherds from the Byzantine period were discerned on the surface where the trial trenches were excavated. Three excavation squares were opened, revealing remains of a plastered installation (L107; 2.42 × 3.50 m; Figs. 2, 3). The installation, which was dated to the Byzantine period based on the recovery of several pottery sherds, was discovered destroyed after probably having tumbled down the slope; neither its original shape nor its dimensions could be determined. The foundations of the installation (thickness c. 0.2 m) were built of medium-sized fieldstones bonded with solid plaster and set on soft beige-colored soil and layers of small stones and river pebbles (L103) and an overlying plaster layer (thickness 1.5 cm). The remains of the installation had rolled down into the stream (L106) and parts of it were found beneath a layer of collapsed fieldstones. Several body fragments of cooking pots and bag-shaped jars were found.
Area B. Two squares were opened, c. 200 m southwest of Area A. In the northern square, remains of a wall (W201; Figs. 4, 5) built of medium-sized fieldstones and preserved to a height of a single course (0.25 m) were exposed. Brown loess with chalk concretions (L202) was observed south of the wall and soil (L203) devoid of sherds was found to its north. A concentration of stones without any architectural remains that turned out to be a random clearance heap of fieldstones was examined in the southern square.