In October 2017, a salvage excavation was conducted at the tennis complex on Maklev Street in Yehud (Permit No. A-8114; map ref. 189445–483/659786–856), prior to work on construction and development. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by A. Luzon Real Estate and Finance Ltd., was directed by E. Zwiebel, with the assistance of D. Masarwa (preliminary inspections), Y. Shmidov (surveying), A. Peretz (field photography), P. Gendelman (scientific guidance), I. Korenfeld, Y. Elisha and E. Jakoel (consultation), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), A. ‘Azab (IAA District archaeologist), Y. Amrani (administration), V. Eshed (physical anthropology), N. Zak (drafting) and laborers from Bir el-Maksur.
Five excavation squares opened in dark clayey soil revealed a habitation level dating from the Chalcolithic period and tombs from the Islamic period.
. Approximately 2 m below a layer of clayey soil was a layer of hamra soil with a habitation level (L16; Fig. 2), on which were pottery vessels, mostly bowls (Fig. 3), flint flakes and a few bone fragments. Similar habitation levels from this period were found in other excavations in Yehud (e.g., Itach, Golan and Zwiebel 2017).
Islamic Period. Six pit graves (T10, T13, T15, T19, T20, T25; Fig. 2) were found. They were dug into the clayey soil in an east–west orientation and covered with limestone slabs of various sizes. Three of the graves were excavated (T10, T15, T19; Figs. 4–6), and their skeletal remains were identified (Eshed, below). Since no grave goods or accompanying artifacts were found, the graves could not be dated with any certainty. Nevertheless, the funerary practices appear to be consistent with those of a Muslim population: a primary burial in anatomical articulation on the right side and roughly oriented from east to west, with the head in the west and the face turned southward (Gorzalzcany 2007). Potsherds (not drawn) dating from the Late Roman to the Abbasid periods were found above and beside the tombs, suggesting that the site only began to be used as a burial ground after the Abbasid period.
The poor state of preservation of most of the bones made it difficult to fully reconstruct the anthropological data. The skeletons were examined at the excavation site.
T10. Human bones in anatomical articulation (Fig. 7). The interred lay on its right side, in an east–west orientation with the head in the west and the face turned southward. The interred was identified as a female, according to the vertical diameter of the humerus head (40 mm), 30–40 years old, based on the extent of dental erosion.
T15. A child’s skeleton in a shallow pit, lying anatomically articulated in an east–west orientation with the head in the west and the face turned southward. Its poor state of preservation made it unclear whether the interred was lying on his back or on his right side. According to the dental development, the child was 3–4 years of age.
T19. Fragments of hip bones representing an adult individual (>15 years) of unknown sex.
Similar Muslim burials were discovered nearby in prior excavations (Korenfeld and Bar-Nathan 2014; Jakoel 2015). The current excavation, located between the two previous ones, can help determine the extent of the Muslim cemetery at Yehud. The adjacent Sheikh’s tomb corroborates this assumption and suggests that the site served the Arab population residing in the village of Yehudiya during the Ottoman period.