Area A (16 sq m; Strata III–I)
Stratum III. A layer of sand (L103, L104; thickness 0.5 m; Fig. 3) was exposed. A neckless Gaza jar (Fig. 4:9), was found next to the southwestern section; its opening was blocked with a medium-sized kurkar stone (0.1 × 0.1 m). The jar’s function is unclear.
Stratum II. A layer of sand mixed with brick material and ancient debris (thickness c. 0.7 m) in which part of an agricultural installation (length 2 m, width 0.8 m; Fig. 5) overlay Stratum III. The installation’s foundation was built of two courses of medium-sized kurkar stones (0.15 × 0.20 × 0.20 m). A wall (W10; length 2.1 m, width 0.6 m, height 0.4 m), preserved to a height of one course and built of medium-sized kurkar stones, was constructed at the northwestern end of the foundation. This was probably a foundation for another course of mud-bricks that was only preserved in the southwestern section. The wall was abutted on the southeast by part of a foundation of an industrial mosaic floor that did not survive (L101). The mosaic was affixed to the foundation with light gray plaster. Potsherds discovered on the foundation included fragments of bowls (Fig. 4:1, 2), a holemouth vessel (Fig. 4:3), a krater (Fig. 4:4), cooking casseroles (Fig. 4:5, 6) and storejars (Fig. 4:7, 8), all dating to the end of the Byzantine and beginning of the Early Islamic period (sixth–seventh centuries CE).
Stratum I. Topsoil (thickness c. 1.5 m) contained an accumulation of sand containing several potsherds and modern refuse.
Area B (25 sq m; Strata II–I)
Stratum II. Foundations of a square building (3.7 × 3.7 m; Figs. 6, 7) erected on a layer of sand were exposed. The foundations (W20–W23; width 0.45 m) were preserved to a height of two–three courses and were built of sections of dry construction utilizing medium-sized fieldstones, together with gray mortar. A fals from the Abbasid period, probably dating to 832 CE (Ramla mint?; IAA 143644) was found in the building’s foundation level (L201). Potsherds exposed in this level date to the Early Islamic period; they include fragments of bowls (Fig. 8:1–5), some with a greenish glaze (e.g. Fig. 8:3), and a holemouth vessel (Fig. 8:6).
Stratum I. Topsoil (thickness c. 0.1 m) contained an accumulation of sand containing several potsherds.
Area C (25 sq m; Strata II–I)
Stratum II. A rectangular tomb (3.2 × 3.8 m; Figs. 9, 10) with a vaulted roof was exposed. It was built inside a pit hewn in the kurkar bedrock. The tomb had four walls (W30–W33; width 0.5 m, height c. 1 m) preserved to a height of five–six courses; these were built of chalkashlar stones (0.17 × 0.17 × 0.30 m) with a thin layer of plaster applied to their inner face. The entrance to the tomb was in the east, in W31. Two well-built steps (width 0.6 m, height of each step 0.23–0.28 m) led down from the opening to a small entrance corridor (L303, L307; length 1.2 m, width 0.6 m). The steps and corridor were bounded on three sides by partitions coated with a thin layer of plaster (W34–W36; width 0.2 m). Three burial troughs (L304–L306; length 2.2 m, width 0.6 m) were discovered in addition to the partitions. Trough 304 was partly excavated; several human bone fragments identified as those of a lower limb were discovered inside it. The bones were broken; on the basis of their proportions, however, it was possible to determine that they belonged to an adult individual. The bones were left in place and excavation in the tomb was halted.
Numerous potsherds including bowls (Fig. 11:1–3), an amphoriskos (Fig. 11:4) and jars (Fig. 11: 5, 6), all dating to the Byzantine period, were found in the fill of the tomb.
Stratum I. Topsoil (thickness c. 0.1 m) contained an accumulation of sand containing numerous potsherds dating to the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. A follis of Constantine I (315–316 CE, Rome mint; IAA 143645) was also found.
The remains of this agricultural installation were probably part of a farming complex that was discovered on the Ashqelon coast, c. 500 m to the northwest (Brand 2001). On the basis of the potsherds discovered inside the installation, it was presumably used at the end of the Byzantine/beginning of the Early Islamic period. Due to the site’s poor state of preservation, the dimensions of the installation are unattainable. The vaulted tomb belongs to one of four subtypes of ‘burial chambers’ that were used to inter wealthy residents at sites along the coastal plain (Huster and Sion 2006). A similar tomb was found at the
ussein site in Ashqelon, which is also dated to the Byzantine period (Kol-Ya‘akov and Farhi 2012