In March 2012, a trial excavation was conducted on Shmaryahu Levin Street in Be’er Sheva‘ (Permit No. A-6459; map ref. 180479–547/572434–527), prior to the drilling and installation of a sewer line. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Be’er Sheva‘ municipality, was directed by V. Nikolsky-Carmel, with the assistance of Y. Al-‘Amor (administration), A. Filin (preliminary inspections), M. Kunin and A. Hajian (surveying), N. Zak (drafting) and laborers from Laqiya.
The excavation was conducted around and alongside the borehole (depth c. 2 m; Fig. 1), in which ancient remains were discovered. Remains of a chalk-built wall (W1; length 1.5 m, width 0.5 m; Fig. 2), preserved one course high, were found in the southern part of the excavation. The wall was probably a remnant of a superstructure that did not survive (L105). In the northern part of the excavation, a room that was dug into loess soil was partially exposed. A wall (W2; length 0.5 m, width c. 0.4 m, preserved height 1.45 m; Fig. 3) built of river pebbles apparently served as a partition wall. The floor in the building was not preserved. Several pottery sherds dating to the Byzantine period were discovered.
This excavation is another in a series of excavations in the Be’er Sheva‘ Central Bus Station, where similar building remains were found. The proximity of a Byzantine cemetery, located beneath the Negev Shopping Mall, seems to indicate that these buildings represent the western fringes of the Byzantine city of Be’er Sheva‘ (Govrin 2003).