During January 2004 a salvage excavation was conducted next to the Movil Junction along Highway 77, on the northern slope of Har Hiya (Permit No. A-4070*; map ref. NIG 2241–53/7410–20; OIG 1741–53/2410–20; Fig. 1), prior to widening the road. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Department of Public Works (North), was directed by L. Porat, with the assistance of A. Shapiro (surveying and drafting ), D. Syon (numismatics), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), Y. Alexandre (pottery consultation) and H. Tahan (pottery drawing).
The northern part of a pit was damaged by a bulldozer-dug trench and its southern part was exposed (Fig. 2). The pit, hewn in soft limestone (height 3.4 m), had a bell-shaped cross-section and a circular opening (diam. 0.77 m, height of neck 1.7 m, base diam. 1.8 m). At the bottom of the pit, a layer of stones that had been detached from the sides of the pit overlaid numerous fragments of pottery vessels, including cooking pots (Fig. 3:1–6) and jars (Fig. 3:7, 8) from the Hellenistic period. Other artifacts included loom weights (Fig. 3:9), pieces of a bronze needle and a coin from the reign of Antiochus III, minted in ‘Akko (198–187 BCE; IAA 106082).
A rock-hewn installation, mostly destroyed by the bulldozer work, was 6 m east of the pit.
The bell-shaped pit was used, in all likelihood, as a storing facility rather than serving as a water cistern since it had no traces of plaster on its walls.