In April 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at Nofekh (Permit No. A-6769; map ref. 192729–60/661149–80; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Hevel Modi‘in Regional Council, was directed by L. Golan, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), A. Gorzalczany (safety), N. Zak (plans), H. Torgë and M. Avissar (ceramic advisors) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
After removing the surface level with mechanical equipment, a layer of clay soil (L100) was exposed. It was mixed with modern refuse and fragments of gray Gaza ware dating to the Ottoman period. Below it was a poorly preserved floor foundation (L104) made of small fieldstones mixed with river pebbles. Several sections of plaster from the floor were preserved in the eastern part of the square. Upon dismantling parts of the floor foundation in the northern part of the square, a layer of clay soil (L103) was revealed, mixed with animal bones, Mamluk pottery and charcoal. Below the clay soil was a layer of hamra (L105) mixed with small stones and a small amount of Mamluk pottery. A threshold stone (L108) was found in the northeastern part of the square. A stone wall (W300, L107) was exposed below it, which was two courses high and aligned in a north–south direction. The wall’s lowest course was built of small and medium fieldstones, while the second course was constructed of large stones with small fieldstones fitted in the interstices. In the northwest of the square, where the floor did not survived, a layer of clay soil (L102) was found. It was mixed with animal bones that could not be identified due to their poor preservation, pottery from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods and modern roof tiles and metal scrap. Below this was another layer of clay soil (L106) mixed with charcoal, unidentified animal bones, and Mamluk and Ottoman pottery. Mamluk period pottery sherds include a cooking pot (Fig. 3:1), cooking pots with a plastic decoration (Fig. 3:2, 3), plain jars (Fig. 3:4, 5), a jug adorned with incising and puncture marks (Fig. 3:6), jugs decorated with geometric drawings (Fig. 3:7, 8) and a fragment of a mold-made lamp adorned with a floral pattern (Fig. 3:9). Ottoman pottery, consisting mainly of fragments of Gaza ware vessels, was discovered in the layers mixed with modern fill. In addition, two fragments of a colored glass bracelet dating to the Mamluk period were found; one was decorated on its side with a twisted trail of glass (Fig. 4).
The purpose of the Mamluk-period building whose remains were exposed in the excavation is unclear. It may have been used in the Ottoman period as well.