During May 2006, an excavation was conducted at Khirbat Janba (Permit No. A-4792*; map ref. NIG 21330–85/58500–35; OIG 16330–85/08500–35), prior to the construction of the separation fence from Mezadot Yehuda to Mizpe Shalem. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by I. Peretz and Y. Drayyer, with the assistance of H. Lavi (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), M. Haiman (photography), I. Berin (drafting), N.S. Paran, F. Sonntag and Y. Baumgarten.
The site is located on the southern slope of a hill, above a dirt road leading to Nahal Tov. Other areas were excavated at the top of the hill (Permit Nos. A-4793, A-4795). Two squares, A, at the bottom of the slope and B, 10 m to its north, were opened in the excavation area. Stone circles (Fig. 1) that apparently served as shelters or bases for shepherd’s tents in recent generations were exposed.
Square A. Three large stones arranged in a bow were discerned on surface before the excavation. The northernmost stone was large and embedded in the ground (length 1.1 m, width 0.37 m, height 1.3 m), whereas the other two stones were smaller and placed on their long side. The sounding excavated in the square exposed an ash layer (L105; thickness 0.15–0.20 m) between the three stones. Four stones in a circle were discovered in the ash. It seems that the place was used as a shelter by shepherds. The finds recovered from surface included a few worn potsherds, ex situ, that dated to the Byzantine–Early Islamic periods.
Square B. Prior to the excavation, five large stones were discerned on surface. The westernmost stone was set in the ground and its particularly large size resembled a mazzeva (length 1.9 m, width 1.1 m, height 1.2 m). Small fieldstones (average dimensions 0.2 × 0.2 m) were placed between the large stones and together they formed a circle (W1) that opened to the east. An ash layer (Loci 107, 109; thickness 0.2 m) was exposed in the sounding excavated inside the circle; the ash extended beneath the small fieldstones. The ash layer was also discovered west of W1 (L113). It seems that the stone circle was used as a shelter or a base for a tent. The finds on surface and from the excavation consisted of flint items of uncertain date, such as blades, including a sickle blade and a piece of modern tin (inside the ash). It seems that the flint implements were swept here from a site at the top of the hill.