In July 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at Nofekh (Permit No. A-6856; map ref. 192705–50/661299–316), along the planned course of the drainage pipeline. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Silas Engineering Company, Ltd., was directed by R. Toueg, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan (surveying), N. Zak (plans), H. Rosenstein (metallurgical laboratory), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and C. Amit (studio photography).
In the current excavation, four half squares were opened, and remains of buildings and installations dating to the Mamluk period were exposed (Fig. 2).
In the southeastern part of the excavation, a stone floor (L103; Fig. 3) was partly preserved; it continued to the southeast, beyond the limits of the excavation area. The paving was laid on a soil fill (L111). Scattered building stones found to the northeast of the floor may be the remains of a wall that abutted the floor. Following the removal of several of the pavement stones, an installation (L110) was exposed. The fill within the installation contained a bronze spatula (Fig. 4:1) and an iron hook connected to an iron ring (Fig. 4:2). To its northeast was another installation (L108; Fig. 5), the use of which remains unclear. It was enclosed between the building stones to the northeast of Floor 103 and a wall (W1) large stones set on a course of small fieldstones preserved two courses high (Fig. 6); the northern part of W1 did not survive. A plaster floor (Fig. 7) was discerned in the northwestern section of Sq 2. A curved wall, enclosing about half a circle—possibly a round installation (L104; Fig. 8), the use of which is unclear—was exposed to the northeast of W1. It was built of smoothed, medium-sized stones placed on their side. Meager remains of a third wall (W2) were uncovered in the northwestern corner of the excavation.
Pottery gathered from surface accumulations (L100, L102, L105–L107, L109) dates to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (thirteenth–eighteenth century CE). Mamluk-period (thirteenth–fourteenth century CE) include a hand-made bowl (Fig. 9:1), hand-made cooking pots (Fig. 9:2–4), a hand-made jar adorned with geometric decorations (Fig. 9:5), a jar (Fig. 9:6), a mold-made jug fashioned from greenish-yellow clay (Fig. 9:7), a jug made of greenish-yellow clay and decorated with incising (Fig. 9:8) and four fragments of lamps (Fig. 10). The pottery ascribed to the Ottoman period (fifteenth–sixteenth century CE) includes a jar (Fig. 9:9) and a black Gaza jar (Fig. 9:10).
Remains of buildings and installations dating to the Mamluk period and pottery vessels from the Ottoman period were unearthed in the excavation. Due to the limited scope of the excavation, it was impossible to draw an accurate plan of the buildings, and the purpose of the installations could not be ascertained. The small amount of pottery may indicate that this area was situated on the outskirts of a settlement. Future excavations may aid in identifying the boundaries of the ancient settlement.