Eighteen excavation squares were opened in the current excavation (c. 450 sq m). A farm structure was partially exposed in the south of the area (Fig. 2). Due to the poor preservation of the building only three of its rooms could be identified, which were arranged in a row from southeast to northwest. Wall foundations built of partially hewn limestone blocks, preserved to a height of one course, were mostly preserved. Two construction phases were identified: a cistern dug in the central room postdated the construction of the building. Nevertheless, the building and the cistern were dated to the same period: the end of the Byzantine–beginning of the Early Islamic period.
Three walls enclosing the eastern room (L119; 3.5 × 6.0 m; Fig. 3)—the northern (W5), the eastern (W1) and the southern (W6)were not preserved for their entire length, and only their foundations remained intact (Fig. 4). The eastern end of W6 was bonded with W9. Wall 9 apparently belonged to another room, located south of the eastern room, which did not survive. The floor of the eastern room was not preserved.
The northern and southern wall foundations (W3 and W19, respectively) in the central room (L124; 5.0 × 6.5 m; Fig. 5) were only partially preserved. The floor of the room was not preserved as well. Inside the room was a cistern (L142; diameter 2.5 m; Fig. 6), whose walls were lined with fieldstones; the excavation did not reach its floor. The cistern postdates the building since it cut through W3 (Fig. 7). A plastered settling basin (L123) adjoined the cistern to its west.
The western room (L116; Fig. 8) was poorly preserved: only several sections of its southern wall (W8, W18) had survived, and the western wall was not preserved at all.
A wall (W7) exposed in the western square probably enclosed an additional room (Fig. 9). Remains of a second wall of this room were exposed along the southern boundary of the excavation (W10).
Pottery recovered from the fill between the walls was ascribed to the Late Byzantine period: bowls (Fig. 10:1–5), a krater (Fig. 10:6), cooking bowls (Fig. 10:8, 9), casseroles (Fig. 10:10, 11), a lid (Fig. 10:12), cooking pots (Fig. 10:13–15), Gaza jars (Fig. 10:16, 17) and bag-shaped jars (Fig. 10:20, 21, 24–27).
A tabun (L120; diam. 0.5 m; Fig. 11) was unearthed north of the building. Approximately 2 m northeast of the building lay a granary (L151; Fig. 12). It was dug into loess, its earthen walls were lined with fieldstone (Fig. 13) and its floor was made of tamped earth. Late Byzantine pottery sherds exposed on the floor included Gaza jars (Fig. 10:18, 19), bag-shaped jars (Fig. 10:22, 23) and a sandal lamp (Fig. 10: 28).
A corridor (L169) dug into the natural loess was exposed north of the building and west of the granary. Its walls (W15, W16) were lined with roughly hewn limestone blocks (Fig. 14), and it delimited a staircase (W17; Fig. 15) that descended into a subterranean cavity dug in the natural loess, probably used for storage; the cavity was not excavated. Pottery vessels from the corridor dated to the Late Byzantine period and included a krater (Fig. 10:7).
Two construction phases were thus identified at the site. The first phase comprised a farmhouse consisting of three rooms, although there is evidence of at least two additional rooms, which were not preserved; these were probably destroyed during the construction of the railway line. The granary, which was constructed not far from the building and is contemporary with it, points to the agricultural nature of the place. In the second phase, a cistern that canceled W3 was constructed in the central room (L124). Presumably, the room was converted into an open courtyard in this phase.
The ceramic finds date the farmstead and its installations to the sixth–seventh centuries CE. The farmstead, like its installations, is very similar to other farms excavated in the vicinity and identified as part of the agricultural hinterland of the city of Be’er Sheva‘ during the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Early Islamic period (Nahshoni, Ustinov and Bar-Ziv 1993; Ustinova and Nahshoni 1994; Fabian and Seriy 2003; Sontag 2003; Talis 2012). The subterranean cavity into which led Staircase 17 resembles a subterranean storage room uncovered c. 50 m north of the current excavation (Permit No. A-5896). The two installations, like similar spaces discovered at the central bus station in Be’er Sheva‘, recently excavated by D. Varga and V. Nikolsky-Carmel (Permit No. A-6264), tell of the construction style in the city of Be’er Sheva‘ during the Byzantine period.