In May 2011, a survey was conducted north of Be’er Milka (License No. S-265/2011; map ref. 141062–2315/540858–1812; Fig. 1), in an area slated for agricultural development. The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the developer, was directed by O. Barzilai, T. Gini-Erickson and N. Shaul.
An area was surveyed north of the road leading from Be’er Milka to the Israel-Egypt border. The area is characterized by petrified sand dunes covered with shifting dunes and low vegetation. Two concentrations of finds (Sites 1, 2) were identified in the area.
Site 1 was exposed in the wake of dune deflation that left a natural depression in its center (100 sq m), where several non-diagnostic pottery sherds and Neolithic flint blades were found. The archaeological finds are meager and scattered due to erosion, and cannot indicate the presence of an ancient site.
Site 2 comprises pottery sherds, flint items and burnt stones scattered of over an extensive area (c. 1 dunam). The flint items include non-diagnostic flakes and cores, while the pottery sherds consist of vessel rims characteristic of the Iron Age. Like Site 1, the finds are eroded and not in situ, and their original provenience is unknown.
As the two concentrations are not in situ, they may indicate the presence of Neolithic and Iron Age sites in the immediate vicinity. These might represent the remains of temporary encampments from these periods, which did not survive because of weathering processes.