In May 2016, a salvage excavation was conducted at the site of el-Qubab, near Kefar Bin-Nun (Permit No. A-7699; map ref. 19595/64125; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Police, was directed by D. Shahar (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), C. Ben-Ari and A. Dagot (GPS), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting) and P. Gendelman (pottery).
The excavation area is located c. 500 m southwest of the Ayyalon Reservoir, on the south slope of a hill at the northwestern edge of the Ayyalon Valley. The site of el-Qubab is named after the Arab village of el-Qubab, which extended over the hilltop and was apparently built over an ancient site (Guérin 1868
:56–59). Previous excavations here uncovered remains from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods (Ein Gedy 2006
; Glick 2006
; Lupu 2010
; Haiman 2014
The excavation unearthed a cist tomb (T1) and a bell-shaped water cistern (L2), both hewn into the chalk outcrop (Fig. 2).
Cist Tomb (c. 0.9 × 2.2 m, c.1.8 m deep; Figs. 3, 4). The tomb was hewn along an east–west axis. At about 0.6 m above the tomb’s floor, the walls were narrowed by 0.10–0.25 m to enable the placement of covering slabs; these had long been removed. The bottom part of the tomb was filled with soil mixed with modern debris, an indication that the tomb was disturbed in recent times. A circular depression (L106; 0.3 m diam., 0.36 m deep) near the north side of the tomb may have been hewn as part of the burial complex.
Cistern. A bell-shaped water cistern was recorded c. 10 m west of the tomb. The excavation down to the bedrock surface around its opening uncovered traces of gray-white plaster. The cistern (diam. 3.5 m, depth 3.3 m, c. 1.3 m depth of opening shaft; Figs. 5–7) was cleared of modern refuse prior to documentation. The vertical shaft of the cistern widens to form the distinct bell shape cavity, characteristic of this type of cistern. A channel (L106; width c. 0.15 m, preserved length c. 1 m, depth c. 0.1 m) carried water from the south to the mouth of the cistern (diam. 1.1 m). Yellowish brown plaster was preserved on the interior walls of the cistern. Worn potsherds (not drawn) dating from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods were recovered, as well as flint debitage that was found together with later material near modern foundations.
Three archaeological items were discovered ex situ near the excavation area: a water trough and two cistern capstones (Figs. 8–11). They were probably transferred recently from the vicinity of the archaeological site to the compound where the excavation was conducted.
Based on the ceramic finds and previous excavations at the site, it appears that the tomb and the cistern were used by residents of the area during the Roman or Byzantine periods. The Roman-period potsherds are similar to those found in contemporary burial complexes unearthed in a nearby excavation (Lupu 2010).
Ein Gedy M. 2006. El-Qubab. ‘Atiqot 51:55*–67* (Hebrew; English summary, p. 239).
Guérin V. 1868. Description géographique, historique et archaéologique de la Palestine 1: Judée (I). Paris.