During August–September 2002 a salvage excavation was conducted at Tel ‘Eran, south of Qibbuz Regavim (Permit No. A-3624; map ref. NIG 202405/713606; OIG 152405/213606), following the discovery of ancient remains while working on the Cross Israel Highway. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Cross Israel Highway Ltd., was conducted by Y. Dagan and E. Eisenberg (photography), with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (Surveying) and Z. Horowitz. Laborers from Or ’Akiva and Umm el-Fahm participated in the excavation.
Tel ‘Eran, located on a spur that descends south toward Nahal Barkan, extends across an area of 3–4 dunams. Large olive trees are planted on it and unirrigated crops are grown along its slopes. R. Givon conducted an excavation on the western part of the tell in 1962, when a channel was being dug for the national water carrier. Givon exposed tombs from the Chalcolithic period, a building from Iron Age I–II and fragments of pottery vessels from other periods (R. Givon, Tel ‘Eran/Khirbet Umm Turos, in Y. Ne’eman ed., Menashe Region III, 1970, pp. 1–5).
Most of the excavation was conducted on the eastern slope of the tell, in an agricultural area that slopes gently to the south and east. Seventeen squares were opened in a row, running from north to south; at a later stage more excavation areas were added to the east. Mechanical equipment was used to dig east–west probe trenches in the low part of the area, revealing a high water table that in all likelihood precluded any kind of settlement in this area, which was prone to annual flooding.
Bedrock overlaid with numerous potsherds that were probably swept there from the tell, located to the west, was exposed below surface (depth 0.3–0.5 m). Most of the sixty other excavations squares were only partially dug and bedrock was found beneath a thin layer of terra rosa soil. Ancient pits cut into bedrock, which contained potsherds from the Early and Middle Bronze Ages, were discovered in several places.
A limited area (4 × 8 m) was excavated in the strip of squares along the edge of the tell, revealing building remains and many potsherds from the Pottery Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Middle Bronze Age II, as well as a few fragments from Iron Age II.
It seems that most of the settlement extended sparsely across the spur of the tell and not along the eastern slope. Although the available water and farmland drew settlers to the area throughout many periods, the settlement did not develop beyond the boundaries of the limestone hill.