Area A (map ref. 18210–20/57485–95; Fig. 2).Foundations of a farmhouse, including a rectangular courtyard (c. 17.0×27.5 m) with at least five rooms (1–5), were exposed. The walls of the building (width 0.5–0.8 m), built of fieldstones, were preserved one–six courses high (0.10–0.55 m). The main entrance to the building was not preserved; however, a secondary entry (width c. 0.5 m) was revealed next to the western corner of the courtyard. The doorjambs of the entrance consisted of roughly hewn stones.A wall (W123) that extended from the middle of the courtyard’s northwestern wall into the courtyard might have been part of another room. A bell-shaped cistern (L2069; diam. 2.8 m), lined with stones and coated with hydraulic plaster, was discovered in the area between Rooms 1, 2 and 3, 4; the upper ten courses of the installation were exposed. A rectangular plastered settling basin of stone (L2071; 0.5×1.2 m, depth 0.17 m) was discovered next to the southern side of the cistern.
Area B (map ref. 18195–99/57487–93; Fig. 3). Remains of a square building (c. 6×6 m) and several nearby wall sections, all built of fieldstones, were uncovered. The walls of the building were preserved two–five courses high. The structure was partitioned by an inner wall (W213) into two rooms (6, 7). A floor of tamped earth was exposed in Room 6. Wall sections (W206, W210), forming a corner and preserved a single course high (0.2–0.4 m), were discovered c. 7 m west of the building. This was probably the corner of another building whose orientation was the same as that of the building to its east. A section of a short wall (W207) was exposed between the building in the east and W206. The alignment of W207 differed from that of the construction in the area and therefore its relation to the rest of the remains is unclear. Two other wall sections (W211, W212), exposed west of W206 and oriented northeast-southwest, were preserved one–three courses high; their alignment matches the construction in the area. Walls 211 and 212 are probably the remains of a dam, whose center part was destroyed.
Area C (map ref. 18203–11/57499–505; Fig. 4). A section of a northeast-southwest oriented wall (W301/W302; exposed length 7 m, width 0.85 m), built of fieldstones and preserved one–three courses high (0.1–0.4 m), was discovered. The opening set in the wall had dressed cornerstones and doorjambs. It seems that the wall and the opening were part of a building.
The finds recovered from the three areas include fragments of pottery vessels, two iron nails and two illegible coins. The pottery is dated to the Byzantine period, from the early fifth until the beginning of the seventh centuries CE, and includes several fragments of different size bowls (5:1–8), Late Roman C bowls (Fig. 6:1–9), kraters (Fig. 7:1–7), cooking kraters (Fig. 8:1–3), cooking pots (Fig. 8:4–10), cooking jugs (Fig. 8:11, 12), frying pan handles (Fig. 8:13), cooking pot lids (Fig. 8:14–16), an extremely large quantity of Gaza jars (Fig. 9:1–4), jugs (Fig. 9:5–9) and a sandal lamp (Area A; Fig. 9:10).A body fragment of a jar engraved with the Greek letters AB was discovered in Area A. The ceramic artifacts point to domestic activity at the site and are reminiscent of the finds from the Byzantine period, recovered from other excavations in Be’er Sheva‘, as well as from villages and farmsteads in the agricultural regions of the Negev.
The exposed remains are part of the agricultural hinterland of Be’er Sheva‘ in the Byzantine period. The site extends across Ketef Be’er Sheva‘ and is surrounded by a plain, suitable for cultivation, which descends gently to the southwest. Numerous sites from the Byzantine period had previously been excavated in the vicinity of the current excavation and practically all of them are part of the agricultural hinterland in the region (ESI 12:94–97; ‘Atiqot 25:157–177; HA-ESI 115:77*–79*; Permit Nos. A-2449, A-2450, A-2452, A-2748).