During June 2012, a trial excavation was conducted along the route of an access road to the site Umm el-Qanatir, south of Moshav Natur (Permit No. A-6550; map ref. 269761/750431). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Golan Regional Council, was directed by O. Zingboym, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), W. Atrash (guidance), N. Getzov (pottery reading), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing), and laborers from Tiberias.
The site was first identified in 2003 during development work of an access road leading to Umm el-Qanatir (Fig. 1). Pottery dating to the Chalcolithic period (fourth millennium BCE) and remains of several buildings of a small modern village were found. A field of dolmens and tumuli is situated south of the hill where the site is located.
The excavation was conducted in the wake of trial sections dug by H. Bron in April 2012, in which potsherds that dated to a variety of periods were found. The fringes of a settlement from the Middle Bronze Age were identified, as well as various potsherds dating from the Chalcolithic until the Roman periods.
An area of 25 sq m was excavated next to the access road (Fig. 2) and the foundations of three fieldstone walls were exposed (W1–W3; Fig. 3). Wall 1 was built of fieldstones (0.1 × 0.1 m) placed on the basalt bedrock. Because of the small segment that survived the context of W1 is unclear (Fig. 4). Walls 2 and 3 were built of small fieldstones (0.05×0.05 m), arranged in a single course set on top of the bedrock and forming a corner of a building that was located beyond the excavation area, along the route of the new road (Figs. 5, 6).
Fragments of pottery vessels dating to Middle Bronze Age IIA (second millennium BCE; Fig. 7), including bowls (Fig. 8:1–3) and cooking pots (Fig. 8:4–6), and from the Roman and Byzantine periods were found on the surface and on the bedrock.
This is the first excavation at the site and it adds to our understanding of the settlement distribution in the region during these periods. The ceramic artifacts indicate that the settlement is from the Middle Bronze Age. The potsherds from the Roman period probably originated from agricultural activity that occurred in the adjacent settlements in this period. It is apparent from the finds that the excavation was conducted along the margin of the settlement.