During June–July 2004, a trial excavation was conducted southeast of Ahihud (Permit No. A-4196*; map ref. NIG 21720–3/75680–2; OIG 16720–3/25680–2), prior to paving a road between the Barlev Industrial Zone and Ahihud. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by M. Cohen, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby and A. Lavan (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), H. Smithline (photography), N. Zak (drafting) and E.J. Stern (pottery reading).
The excavation area (45 sq m) was located on a spur southeast of Moshav Ah
ihud. The remains of a building (Figs. 1, 2) that were dated from the fifteenth–sixteenth to the twentieth centuries CE were exposed above bedrock. The Arab village Biroh had been located here in the past. Two excavations had previously been conducted at the foot of the spur (HA-ESI 119
; Permit No. A-3746).
A room (L8; Fig. 3) that was built on hewn and leveled bedrock was discovered in the western part of the excavation area. Three rock-cut steps descended to the hard mortar floor of the room from the east. The walls of the room (W1, W4; Figs. 4, 5) were built of limestone fieldstones and lined with a mixture of soil over which friable buff-colored plaster was applied. Wall 1 was especially wide (width 0.8 m) and it probably bore a two-story structure. A small storage installation (Fig. 6) was built on the floor in the corner Walls 1 and 4. Another small floor section (L11) of crushed chalk, which might have belonged to another room in the building, was discovered to the east of Room 8. Two floors of the building’s courtyard (Loci 15, 17; Figs. 7, 8), which consisted of small stones, one atop the other (0.16 m between them), were discovered in the eastern part of the excavation area. The ceramic artifacts below the floor levels dated to the beginning of the Ottoman period (the sixteenth–seventeenth centuries CE). A collapse of ashlar stones and building materials overlaid the floor levels. Wall 16 had cut through the floor levels on the north. A rock-hewn water cistern, lying beyond the limits of the excavation area, was discerned c. 1 m north of W16 (Fig. 9). Floors 15 and 17 reached the opening of the cistern and it seems that they drained run-off into it. Remains of walls and floors (L14) that extended south beyond the excavation area (Fig. 10) were discovered south of Room 8.
A few fragments of pottery vessels from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods were discovered on bedrock in the excavation area; it seems they were probably washed there or originated in the fill from the adjacent area. The occupation of this part of the spur commenced at the beginning of the Ottoman period.