In February 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted southeast of Horbat Pattish, near Ofaqim (Permit No. A-6711; map ref. 16545/58120; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a railroad track. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Railways, was directed by V. Lipshits (field photography), with assistance of Y. El-‘Amorr (administration), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), N. Zak (plans), E. Boaretto (14C dating) and D. Varga, G. Seri and Y. Israel (consultation).
Area A extended across a hill, where the remains of two circular lime kilns were discerned on the surface c. 12 m apart. The kilns were (L10—outer diam. 2.6 m, inner diam. 2.20–2.35 m, depth c. 1.8 m; L11—outer diam. 2.7 m, inner diam. 2.5 m; Figs. 2–4) were dug into the loess soil, and their sides were lined with mud bricks and plastered (W1, W2; thickness of the lining 0.18–0.22 m). Kiln 10 had sustained damage to its southern side as a result of work carried out at the site. The mud bricks that lined the kilns were fired and fused into a single mass by the intensity of the heat. Layers of ash and charcoal, probably remains of the fuel, were discovered at the bottom of the kilns (L19, L20). Burnt limestone (Fig. 5) was discovered above these layers, together with several body fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Byzantine period (L15, L17). The 14C analyses of charcoal from the bottom of the kilns dated them to the fifth century CE. Two squares were excavated (L14, L16) in the area between the two kilns in order to expose work surfaces related to these installations; however, no finds were revealed.
Area B. An excavation square was opened near a streambed, where several mud bricks were discerned on the surface. A layer of loess was exposed, and no ancient artifacts were discovered.
It seems that the two kilns unearthed in Area A were part of the industrial region of Horbat Pattish during the Byzantine period.