During August 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted in Sha‘ar Ha-Gāy, south of Khirbat Harsis (Permit No. A-6596; map ref. 202420/635887), in the wake of discovering ancient remains in a survey that preceded the construction of an operational road. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Department of Public Works, was directed by B. Monnickendam-Givon (field photography), with the assistance of N. Nehama and R. Abu Halaf (administration), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), D. Ben-Ami (guidance) and N. Zak (plan). M. Zuckerman of the Jewish National Fund and A. Shweiki of the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites assisted in providing information about the excavation’s surrounding. D. Ein-Mor and P. Betzer performed a preliminary survey of the site.
The cave was hewn in chalk bedrock (Loci 42, 43; 3.2×4.5 m, height 2.3 m). An opening built of stones and concrete (0.75×1.6 m; Fig. 3) was fixed in the cave’s façade. The southern doorjamb was part of a wall (W47; max. width 1.5 m, height 2.3 m), built of roughly hewn medium-sized stones. The northern doorjamb (W45; width 0.6 m, height 1.6 m) and the lintel (W46; length 2.15 m, width 0.6 m) were constructed from concrete. Part of the caves’ ceiling collapsed (Fig. 4). A large quantity of modern refuse was discovered in the cave, as well as two large stone blocks that collapsed from the ceiling.
The cistern was located c. 5 m south of the cave (max. width c. 2.5 m, depth 3.3 m). It was hewn in soft chalk bedrock, except for its opening (diam. c. 1.2 m) that was cut in hard limestone. The cistern became wider toward the bottom and contained modern refuse.
The excavation area was located within the precincts of the Sharbati House that was built in the 1940s and housed a grocery store and a small gas station (Gavish and Kleinman 1980:9). The cave and the cistern were presumably part of that compound.