During November–December 2011, a salvage excavation was conducted alongside Highway 79 in Nahal Zippori (Permit No. A-6333; map ref. 224126–408/738855–989), in the wake of damage caused to the site prior to widening the road. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Department of Public Works, was directed by N. Feig (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), R. Liron (surveying and drafting), A. Shapiro (GPS) and laborers from Kafr Manda.
Two squares were opened parallel to the southern side of the road (A, B; Fig. 1); remains of a channel that was meant to divert the water in the stream to irrigation in the nearby fields were exposed. Nahal Zippori flows 40 m south of the excavation area. Archaeological excavations (Permit Nos. A-6272, A-6457) had previously been conducted at the ‘En Zippori site, north and south of Highway 79, near the current excavation. Finds that dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, the Wadi Rabah culture, Early Chalcolithic (pre-Ghassulian) and Early Bronze Age I, II were uncovered in those excavations. In addition, quarries and burial caves from the Roman period were identified south of the stream.
Square A. A channel consisting of two parallel walls, 1.3 m apart, was exposed (L210, W2, W3; length of the channel 8.36 m; Figs. 2–4). The walls, built of large stones (0.6×1.0 m), some of which were ashlars, were preserved two–three courses high above two foundation courses of fieldstones. Next to the inner face of W2 was a layer of stones (width 0.6 m) that consisted of two levels with small stones at the bottom (L204) and medium-sized stones above them (L203, not marked on plan). Remains of this layer were also found next to the western end of the inner face of W3. Between the walls was a layer of heavy brown soil that contained several worn potsherds from the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, including fragments of red-burnished bowls from Asia Minor (LRC), dating to the fourth–seventh centuries CE (not drawn). It was determined in a sounding (L205) east of the channel that the channel was founded on a bed of medium-sized stones (L208; Fig. 5) above virgin soil.
There was no plaster in the channel and the stone levels might have been formed as a result of the powerful flow of the water. An examination of the water level in the stream showed that the current level is 0.35–0.40 m higher than that of the channel; presumably, that was also the case in antiquity. The channel diverted a tributary of Nahal Zippori. On the basis of its direction, it might have been built to convey water for irrigating fields to the east and north because the stream turns south c. 100 m east of the excavation. The potsherds recovered from the excavation are worn due to the action of the water in the channel; nevertheless, they should be dated to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.
Square B. A row of stones that was poorly preserved due to the earthmoving activity in the area prior to the excavation was exposed; this might be the continuation of one of the channel’s walls from Square A.