Pit 505. The upper part of the pit was destroyed by the mechanical trenching. The lower part of the pit (diam. 2 m, preserved depth 0.3 m) was found filled with dark gray anthropogenic earth that contained ceramics and flints.
Pit 506. The pit (Figs. 2, 3) consists of an oval, vertical shaft (diam. 1.5 m, depth 0.75 m) and a bell-shaped chamber (max. diam. 1.65 m) below it. A rounded opening connected the shaft with the chamber. A few steps were cut in the shaft’s wall to facilitate the descent into the pit and the ascent from it. The pit was found filled with gray anthropogenic debris. The earth from the lower part of the pit was entirety sieved through a 2 mm mesh, revealing numerous pottery sherds, as well as flints, shells, bones and seeds, which included olive stones, grape pips and cereals. A single sample of an olive stone sent to 14C dating has revealed a calibrated (95.4%) date of 3645–3520 BCE (early EB I period).
Pottery and Groundstone Vessels
. A small amount of ceramic sherds was revealed in the lower part of both pits 505 and 506, dating from the early phase of the EB I. The finds are identical to those found in previous excavations at Ashqelon, Areas E, G and N (Braun and Gophna 2004
; Golani 2004
; Golani 2014
; Golani and Paran 2014
). The diagnostic potsherds were all handmade of brown and brown-orange clay, with numerous small- and medium-sized inclusions, and were poorly fired. The pottery finds include V-shaped bowls (Fig. 4:1–10), some bearing a red wash and burnish on the inside and outside (Fig. 4:3, 4, 7); simple bowls with slightly incurving walls (Fig. 4:11, 12); bowls(?) with a string-cut base (Fig. 4:13); bowls with an impressed thumb decoration on their rims (Fig. 4:14); simple holemouth-jar rims (Fig. 4:15, 16), including holemouths with sculpted rims (Fig. 4:17, 18); simple jars with sloping upright rims (Fig. 4:19) and more flaring jar rims (Fig. 4:20); flat bases (Fig. 4:21, 22), which characterized most of the vessels, hence it is impossible to determine to which type of vessel they belong; cornet bases (Figs. 4:23, 24); thumb-impressed ledge handles (Fig. 4:25, 26); and a perforated body sherd (Fig. 4:27). A small number of groundstone objects include a fragment of a polished limestone palette (Fig. 4:28) and a polished limestone pebble bearing the remains of an incised design (Fig. 4:29).
The excavation revealed 27 flint artifacts, mainly from Pit 506, the contents of which were sieved through a 0.5 cm mesh; many of the artifacts are burnt and fragmented. The assemblage includes several debitage items (N=8), mostly blades and bladelets. Tools comprise half of the assemblage (N=13), including seven Canaanean sickle blade segments (Fig. 5:1, 2), which are typical of EB assemblages (Rosen 1997
:106–108), and several retouched blades and bladelets. Of special interest are two blades (Fig. 5:3, 4) made of non-local, purple and striped raw material. One of them (Fig. 5:3) is retouched and may be identified as an Egyptian twisted blade. Such items and other Egyptian types have been found in late EB I contexts, indicating that both local and Egyptian knapping traditions were used during this period (Rosen 1988
; Gophna and Friedmann 1993
; Marder, Braun and Milevski 1995
). However, the non-local raw material and the small number of items may indicate that these two blades are Egyptian imports. As such, they may comprise some of the earliest Egyptian flint tools found so far.
The two pits revealed in the excavation were probably intended, like the pits discovered in the area in 1994, to serve for storage, and were only later used for waste disposal. Thus, it seems that the current excavation is a direct continuation of the previous one in the area. The 14C date of the olive stone from Pit 506 adds further credence to previous 14C assays from this area (Golani 2004
), indicating a date in the first half of the forth millennium BP for the early EB I occupation at the site. The presence of imported Egyptian flint tools is of interest, as its early EB I association predates most of the earliest Egyptian flint tools that are associated with the late EB I.