. Twenty-one deep circular shafts (diam. c. 1 m, depth c. 0.6–3.0 m) were discovered. The shafts contained dark gray soil and a considerable amount of finds, including pottery sherds, animal bones, flint and organic material (Fig. 3). An almost complete churn (Fig. 4) was found in one of the shafts (L316), at a depth of 2 m. It is possible that one of the shafts (L324) was used in a later phase as a fire pit. In some of the shafts, most of the artifacts were concentrated in the upper part of the shaft, while the lower part had gray fill soil devoid of finds. Some of these shafts were probably used as refuse pits in a later phase, as were previously excavated shafts in the vicinity (Jakoel and van den Brink 2014). In addition, a shallow pit (L305; diam. 1.8 m, depth c. 1.5 m), containing a large quantity of ash, was excavated in Area B; its diameter was larger than those of other shafts. An unusual, irregularly shaped pit (L100; Fig. 5) was discovered in Area A, with numerous finds in its upper part. Habitation levels (thickness 0.2–0.5 m) were exposed in several locations; these included pottery sherds, animal bones and flint, all found in the hard clay soil. A cluster of in situ crushed pottery vessels was found on one of the levels (L118; Fig. 6).
A Middle Bronze Age II. A tomb (T312; Fig. 7) was dug into the hard, brown clayey soil. It was entered from the west, by way of a shaft (width 1.2 m) that led to a burial chamber (length 3.95 m, width 1.6 m). A jar, a dipper juglet and a large bowl with loop handles were found in the western part of the tomb. At its southeastern end were two vessels. The eastern jug was adorned with a unique anthropomorphic decoration: its neck is sculpted in the image of a sitting person, wearing what seems as a hat. The right cheek is resting on the right hand, while the left hand is placed across the right knee in a position that is reminiscent of reflection or contemplation (Fig. 8, 9).
Seven metal items were also found in the tomb: three daggers, two spearheads, an axe head and a knife. One dagger has an apple handle made of limestone, and another has a bone handle, which has since disintegrated, and was adorned with a greenish colored duckbill decoration. Both spearheads bear wooden remains of their arrow shafts. The rear part of the axe head is shaped as an ‘eye’ and bears remains of a crumbling pale green wooden handle that was inserted into the socket. The knife is bow-shaped, and it too probably had a handle fashioned from bone.
Remains of three animal funerary offerings were identified in the tomb: two male sheep and a large animal, possibly a donkey. Only the ribs of the deceased survived, but it seems that the individual was placed on his side in a flexed position, with the head in the south and the feet in the north. Tombs dating from the MB II were unearthed in several adjacent excavations (Jakoel and van den Brink 2014; Jakoel and Be’eri 2016; Govrin 2015:124–126).
. A pottery kiln (L329; height 2.5 m; Fig. 10) was identified in a section created during development work conducted in the eastern part of the area. The kiln, which was damaged during the development work, was documented but not excavated, and therefore the information about it is limited. The southern wall of the kiln was exposed in the section: the inner wall (thickness 7 cm) was reddish in color, and the outer wall (thickness 0.25 m) was black. Clusters of stones, whose function remains unclear, were visible below the section. A mass of large stones was probably part of a pillar that supported the floor of the firing chamber. Two squares (L320, L321) were opened below and west of the section to located the remains of the kiln’s foundation. They yielded a strip of stones, which appear to have collapsed, and several pottery sherds. Remains of kilns from the Roman and Byzantine periods were uncovered in the past in the immediate area (Jakoel and van den Brink 2014).
The occupation layers, shafts and pits from the Chalcolithic period found in the excavation, along with thousands of pottery sherds, indicate the presence of a significant habitation during this period. Occupation levels that included such a large amount of pottery vessels have so far been found mainly in excavations carried out by Y. Govrin slightly north of the current excavation area (Govrin 2015
:14–27). Shafts and pits were discovered in many excavations in Yehud in recent years (van den Brink, Golan and Shemueli 2001
; Jakoel and van den Brink 2014; Itach 2016; Jakoel and Be’eri 2016), but their use remains unclear. It seems that they were eventually used as refuse pits, although they may have been installed as such in the first place.
The unique MB II burial complex was rich in offerings, including an anthropomorphic jug and numerous metallic items. To date, hundreds of tombs from this period have been excavated in Yehud (Govrin 2015; Jakoel and Be’eri 2016; License No. B-381/2012), but no
building remains have been found. The wealth of the burial complex and the unique pottery vessels it contained, the likes of which have never been discovered in the southern Levant, allow us to suggest that the deceased was an important figure, perhaps one of the leaders of the local community. The remains of the Byzantine pottery kiln should be associated with other remains of this period, including buildings and a well (Jakoel and van den Brink 2014) and complex winepresses (Korenfeld and Bar-Nathan 2014; Jakoel and Be’eri 2016),
which were revealed in previous excavations in the area.