In October 2012, a trial excavation was conducted at Tell Bira (Permit No. A-6634; map ref. 216228–40/756350–413), prior to widening Road 70. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Netivei Israel – National Roads Company of Israel, Ltd., was directed by O. Zidan, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), W. Atrash (scientific guidance), R. Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), Y. Bibas (photography), D. Silverman (aerial photography), D. Syon (metal detection), N. Getzov and Y. Alexandre (ceramics), H. Tahan-Rosen (drawing of finds), Y. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory) and D.T. Ariel and R. Kool (numismatics).
Six excavation squares (N1–N6; 150 sq m; Figs. 1, 2) were opened along the northeastern fringes of Tell Bira. A retaining wall (W107; exposed length 20 m, width 2.5 m) dating to the Persian period and pottery sherds from the Iron, Persian and Hellenistic periods were exposed. The retaining wall was founded on a layer of light brown soil (L114–L116). The wall, built of a single row of partly dressed, medium-sized stones, was preserved three courses high and was oriented along a general north–south axis. Fill consisting of light brown soil and numerous small fieldstones was found to its west. Fragments of pottery vessels were discovered in the layer of soil upon which the wall was founded. These included bowls (Fig. 3:3–5) and a jar (Fig. 3:15), dating to the Iron Age, and mortaria (Fig. 3:17–19), an amphora (Fig. 3:20) and Phoenician jars (Fig. 3:21–26) from the Persian period. Pottery sherds discovered while dismantling the wall (L120) included a bowl (Fig. 3:7) and jar (Fig. 3:16), dating to the Iron Age, and Phoenician jars (Fig. 3:27, 28) from the Persian period. Light brown alluvium (L108, L109) mixed with fragments of pottery vessels was exposed east of the wall. These sherds date mainly to the Iron Age and include bowls (Fig. 3:1, 2, 6), cooking vessels (3:8–13) and a jar (Fig. 3:14). Some of the pottery sherds are from the Hellenistic period, such as a bowl (Fig. 3:29) and a jar (Fig. 3:30). A coin of Antiochus III (198–187 BCE; IAA 143108), struck at the mint in ‘Akko, was discovered on the surface (L104).
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