During June 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted in Shavē Ziyyon (Permit No. A-5461; map ref. 20834–40/76537–8), following the discovery of ancient remains during development work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Shavē Ziyyon Agricultural Association, was directed by L. Porat, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology), H. Tahan (pottery drawing), E. Stern (guidance) and laborers from Bir al-Maqsur.
A number of fragmentary pottery vessels were discovered in the sand. A jar, whose upper part was broken, was found at a depth of 1 m, lying on its side with its base facing north (Fig. 2). The body of the jar (Fig. 3:1) becomes wider toward the middle and tapers to a pointed base. Similar jars are dated to the sixth–fourth centuries BCE.
Small bone fragments were found in the jar, overlain with other jar fragments and parts of two lamps (Fig. 4). The bones were those of a newborn, possibly even a fetus. The lamps (Fig. 3:2) are characteristic of the Persian period.
A number of human bone fragments, visible in the excavation section, c. 1 m west of the jar, were not excavated.
Infant and fetal burials in jars occurred in the Iron Age and were discovered in excavations at Akhziv, but the custom is not known from the Persian period (E. Mazar, per. comm.). The bones discovered next to the jar indicate that this was not a single burial. The cemetery may have belonged to the Persian settlement whose remains were discovered below the Byzantine church.