During May–June 2004, a salvage excavation was conducted south of the Qatannâ village (Khirbat Rafeidiya; Permit No. A-4170*; map ref. NIG 21065/63678; OIG 16065/13678), along the route of the separation fence. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by I. Zilberbod, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), A. Nagorski (photography), R. Louis (antiquities inspection) and C. Hersch (pottery drawing).
A backhoe-dug probe in a rock-hewn water cistern, which was recorded during a development survey on the slope of the southern bank of Nahal Kefira, was manually examined and documented (Figs. 1, 2).
The elliptical cistern had a bell-shaped cross-section (3.5–4.0 × 4.0 m). Its sides and floor were coated with a layer of hydraulic plaster (thickness 14 mm) and a rectangular opening (L1; 0.8 × 1.0 m, height 0.6 m) was hewn in its ceiling. The fill inside the cistern included a layer of gray soil mixed with a collapse of large stones (L2; 0.8 × 1.0 m, height 1–2 m) and a burnt layer (L3; thickness 0.1 m) below it. A layer of soil (L4; thickness 0.5 m) on the floor of the cistern contained fragments of jugs from the first century BCE (Fig. 3:1–7) and was probably dated to the period of its use. Fragments of a FBW-type jug (Fig. 3:8) that dated to the seventh–eighth centuries CE were recovered from the upper fill, below the opening of the cistern. The surface around the cistern was enclosed within a terrace wall, 2.5 m to the west, oriented north–south; perpendicular to it was a stone fence that delimited cultivation plots.