During May 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted at 31 Shamai Street in El‘ad (Mazor; Permit No. A-6516; map ref. 195660–726/661730–77), prior to development. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Mr. L. Oshky, was directed by A. ‘Azab, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), M. Kunin and A. Hajian (surveying) and A. Dagot (GPS).
Four spots were excavated and two cisterns (F1, F2) and four cist graves (F3, F4) were exposed (Fig. 2).
F1, F2. Two rock-cut cisterns coated with white plaster (thickness c. 2 cm); both cisterns contain accumulations of brown alluvium and medium and large stones. Cistern F1 was bell-shaped (max. diam. c. 5 m, depth 4 m; Fig. 3) and its opening was round (diam. 1 m). Cistern F2 was square (c. 5×5 m, depth c. 4 m; Fig. 4) and its opening was round (diam. 1 m). The eastern part of the cistern’s ceiling had collapsed inside it (Fig. 5).
F3a, b, c. Three rock-hewn cist graves (0.60×1.55 m; Fig. 6) south of Cistern F2; Tombs F3a and F3b were aligned northwest–southeast and Tomb F3c was oriented northeast–southwest.
F4. A tomb (0.55×1.55 m, Fig. 7) situated southeast of Cistern F2. It was aligned northeast–southwest.
The tombs were documented and left unexcavated. Several potsherds were found in and around the cisterns.
In light of the finds and the absence of any architectural remains in the vicinity of the cisterns, it is apparent that the cisterns were hewn for agricultural purposes. Tombs found and located to the south, which were exposed in trial trenches in 2003 (and not excavated), are indicative of a burial field along whose northern border are the tombs exposed in the current excavation.
In the absence of any pottery, it was not possible to date the finds.