A central area (A) was excavated at the top of the eastern slope of the spur (c. 600 m asl), as were two installations at some distance from this area, one (Area B) c. 25 m to the southeast and the other (Area C) c. 170 m to the south. The meager finds from these areas consist of a few potsherds and several flint artifacts.
Area A (c. 275 sq m; Fig. 2). The remains of three rounded structures (L108, L110, L120) and an installation (L116) were exposed. They were all founded directly on a bedrock surface sloping gradually to the east. The bedrock in the area was probably at least partially smoothed and was leveled for use as a floor. The structures (diam. 3–5 m) were built of undressed fieldstones, some of which were arranged standing on their narrow edge. Although most of the structures were not preserved in their entirety, one-third to one-half of their outer perimeters were identified. The remains are described herein from north to south.
Structure 120 (outer diam. 5 m, max. preserved height 0.4 m), in the north of the area, was surrounded by a curved wall (W6). A concentration of stones (W10) exposed in the center of the structure could be the remnant of a stone pillar or the foundation for a wooden pillar that supported the roof. The bedrock, which served as a floor, appears to have been partially leveled. A layer of soil (thickness 5–10 cm) was deposited in the eastern part of the structure to level the floor.
A north–south segment of a wall (W1) separated Structures 120 and the structure to its south (L108); its function remains unclear.
Structure 108 (outer dimensions 3.5 × 4.0 m, max. preserved height 0.25 m) was exposed near the western boundary of the excavation area and c. 10 m south of Structure 120. It was an elliptical structure built of a wall (W2), which for the most part was preserved. Smoothed bedrock, which was exposed throughout the structure, served as a floor.
Structure 110 (diam. 3.5 m, max. preserved height 0.55 m) was unearthed c. 3 m southeast of Structure 108. Only less than half of its outer wall (W3) was preserved, but its remaining perimeter could nevertheless be clearly identified. A cell or small triangular installation (L112; 1 × 1 m; Fig. 3) found in the northern part of the structure was delimited on the east and south by a wall (W5). This structure also utilized the bedrock surface as a floor.
Installation 116 was exposed c. 3 m northeast of Structure 110. It comprised a concentration of square stones (2.4 × 2.8 m; max. preserved height 0.35 m): large, flat ones in the center, and medium-sized stones that formed the square perimeter. The installation’s function could not be determined.
Area B. A rectangular installation (L111; 1 × 2 m; depth 0.4 m; Figs. 4, 5), excavated c. 25 m southeast of Area A, was delimited on three sides by upright stones. It may be a tomb, although no bones or any other finds were found to confirm this hypothesis.
Area C. A circular installation (L121; diam. 2.3 m; Figs. 6, 7) built on single rounded (W11) wall on a bedrock terrace was excavated c. 170 m south of Area A. The wall was built of stones, most of them standing on their narrow edge. This may be another round structure whose eastern half toppled down the slope, but the state of its preservation and the absence of finds do not permit any clear conclusion.
Pottery.A few dozen potsherds were recovered, twelve of which are characteristic of the Intermediate Bronze Age in the Negev: an open bowl with a cut inverted rim (Fig. 8:1); a closed bowl or cup with an everted rim and red slip on the exterior and below the rim on the interior (Fig. 8:2); a holemouth with a simple rim (Fig. 8:3); holemouths with a cut rim and an everted ridge (Fig. 8:4, 5); a discoid base of a juglet (Fig. 8:6); two ‘teapot’ spouts (Fig. 8:7, 8); the neck of a jar with lug handles between the shoulder and the neck (Fig. 8:9); a simple jar rim (Fig. 8:10); and two flat bases (Fig. 8:11, 12).
Emil Aladjem
Several flint items were found dispersed in the structures, with no apparent concentration of finds. The assemblage comprised 30 uneven flakes; three cores (Fig. 9:1–3)—of which one has opposing striking platforms (Fig. 9:1), and one is a discoidal core (Fig. 9:2); a notch (Fig. 9:4); denticulates (Fig. 9:5, 6); an end scraper (Fig. 9:7); and one cutting tool (Fig. 9:8). The assemblage represents an industry lacking in uniformity. The items are probably local, ad hoc products, but they may also have been washed down from higher up the spur.
The excavated site is part of a complex of sites dating from the Intermediate Bronze Age in the eastern Negev, most of which are identified with nomads who returned to the region each year during winter and spring to graze their flocks. The paucity of finds and the nature of the remains, which apparently served as foundations for structures made of perishable materials, also indicate that the sites were of a transitory nature.