During October 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted along the northern bank of Nahal Be’er Sheva‘, east of the Makhteshim corporation and the railroad track (Permit No. A-6643; map ref. 183190–200/572434–454; Fig. 1), in the wake of infrastructure work by the Israel Electric Company. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Electric Company, was directed by Y. Haimi, with the assistance of Y. Al-‘Amor (administration) and F. Sonntag (district archaeologist).
The excavation was carried out where a pole is to be set.
Previous excavations in the region exposed remains from the Hellenistic period, including a refuse pit, terraces, rock-cut pits, hewn underground cavities, built terraces and walls (HA-ESI 115:64*–65*), as well as a settlement with underground buildings that dated to the Iron Age and the Hellenistic period (‘Atiqot 67:61–80).
The excavated area is located within the precincts of several declared antiquities sites.
The top soil layer, which consisted of wadi pebbles, earth and potsherds from the Iron Age and the Hellenistic period, was removed in the excavation (Fig. 2). Below it was a surface of wadi conglomerate comprising wadi pebbles bonded with calcareous material (Fig. 3). Two trial trenches (depth 2.5 m; Fig. 4) were dug, using mechanical equipment, to ascertain the presence of underground cavities; no finds were discovered apart from stratified fluvial layers.
The objective of the current excavation was to expose additional underground buildings, although these were not discovered. It is possible that underground buildings were established north of the wadi bank due to the close proximity of the area to the bank and the fear of flooding in the winter.