In September 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted on Giv‘ati Street in Yavne (Permit No. A-6615; map ref. 175745–57/641713–24; Fig. 1), prior to erecting an electric pole. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Electric Company, was directed by C. Ben-Ari, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology) and M. Ajami of the IAA Central Region.
A single excavation square (2.5 × 3.0 m; Fig. 2) was opened, exposing sandy hamra soil beneath a layer of modern fill (thickness 1 m). In the northern and southern sides of the square were modern infrastructures that penetrated the ground and might have damaged ancient remains. A human skull (L101; Fig. 3) was exposed next to the eastern side of the square; the rest of the skeleton had probably been truncated when concrete was poured for the base of an electric pole. Apparently, the skull represents an adult individual that was interred in a primary burial in an east–west direction, with the head in the west and facing south. The sutures in the cranium were still open, an indicator characteristic of an individual less than 30 years of age (Hershkovitz et al. 1997). The glabellar lines and brow ridges, as well as the superior nuchal line, were not developed, a morphology characteristic of a female individual. Although the soil in the excavation was sifted, only meager remains of human bones and several potsherds dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods (third–fifth centuries CE) were recovered.
Due to the position of interment and the location of the tomb within a Muslim cemetery, we conclude that the tomb was dug during the twelfth century CE into a layer from the Byzantine period.
Hershkovitz I., Latimer B., Dutour O., Jellema L.M., Wish-Baratz S., Rothschild C. and Rothschild B.M. 1997. Why Do We Fail in Aging the Skull from the Sagittal Suture? American Journal of Physical Anthropology 103:393–400.
Levi Y. 1991. Yavne. ESI 10:170.
Taragan, H. 2005. Al-Ashraf Khalil and the Abu Hurayra/Raban Gamaliel Tomb in Yavneh in the Early Mamluk Period: Architecture as Propaganda. In M. Fischer ed. Yavneh, Yavneh-Yam and Their Neighborhood: Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Judean Coastal Plain. Tel Aviv. Pp. 317−338 (Hebrew).