In July 2019, a trial trench was excavated at Horbat Migdal Usha (Permit No. A-8571; map ref. 21137–324/743346–490), prior to laying a water pipeline. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Mekorot – Israel National Water Company, was directed by E. Oren (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), V. Essman (surveying and drafting), A. Naor (preliminary inspection) and Y. Tepper (guidance), as well as M. Masawra and K. Sa‘id.
The excavation took place in a cultivated field, c. 100 m northwest of Horbat Migdal Usha (Fig. 1). Four squares were opened, uncovering meager building remains from the Roman–Byzantine periods along the fringes of the site. A past survey of the site identified an Ottoman-period khan (Olami and Gal 2003: Site 85), incorporating in its construction stones from the Crusader period, some of which were decorated. West of the khan were remains of fieldstone-built structures, and not far from them were rock-cut tombs. Sherds found at the site were dated to the Roman, Byzantine, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. A nearby excavation (Talmi 2012; Fig. 1: A-6213) had unearthed a field wall from the Roman period.
The current excavation revealed remains of a field wall, two stone surfaces and a natural colluvial surface. The remains were damaged due to cultivation and the laying of infrastructure. The wall (W110; Fig. 2) was built of large fieldstones set on clay, but only two stones remained in place. Near the stones were a few sherds, including a Roman-period casserole handle (Fig. 3:1).
The two surfaces (L106—Fig. 4; L109—Fig. 5) were irregularly shaped and consisted of layers of medium-sized and small stones and compacted soil. Surface 106 contained a few sherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods (not drawn), burnt stones and animal bones. Some of the stones of Surface 109 bore signs of burning. Sherds found near this surface included a Roman-period jar (Fig. 3:2) and Byzantine-period bowls (Fig. 3:3–5).
About 2 m below ground level, a surface consisting of numerous pebbles and flint stones was found (L104; Fig. 6); this was apparently a colluvial surface of an ancient streambed.