During December 2003, a trial excavation was conducted south of el-Kabri (Permit No. A-4056*; map ref. NIG 21438/76850; OIG 16438/26850; HA-ESI
113:6*–7*; HA-ESI 116
:4*–6*), prior to construction. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ma‘ale Yosef Regional Council, was directed by O. Zingboym, with the assistance of A. Dadush (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting) and N. Getzov (guidance).
The excavation was on a chalk hill south of el-Kabri, west of the Western Galilee Regional Comprehensive School. Prior to the excavation, probe trenches that were dug at the site and supervised by L. Porat revealed the remains of ancient construction. Consequently, an excavation area (4 × 6 m; Figs. 1, 2) was opened adjacent to the probe trenches.
Remains of three strata were exposed. Rock cuttings (Stratum 3), which may have been part of an agricultural installation that was used by the el-Kabri settlement in the Byzantine period, were discovered on bedrock. The remains of a large structure (Stratum 2) were discovered above the rock-cuttings (width c. 1 m). The walls, oriented east–west, were built of dressed stones and the entrance was set in the southern wall (W1; min. length 16.8 m). The building had two rooms divided by a partition wall (W5). Two piers (W5a, W5b) that apparently bore the building’s vaulted ceiling were incorporated in W5. A few potsherds within the floor bedding of the building were dated to the eighteenth century CE. The building collapsed after it was abandoned. On surface, overlying the building remains, part of a small fieldstone-built structure (Stratum 1; W2, W4) that seems to be of a twentieth century CE date, was discovered.