Four adjacent oval pits (L101 – length 0.95–1.10 m, depth 1.2 m; L102 – length 1.0–1.5 m, depth 0.7–1.1 m; L104 – length 1.1–1.8 m, depth 0.6–1.1 m; L105 – length 1.0–1.5 m, depth c. 0.8 m; Figs. 2, 3) were hewn in a cleared soft limestone surface (c. 40 sq m). The excavation area was bisected by a modern concrete wall (width c. 1 m) that damaged Pit 104. A niche (0.5×0.5×0.5 m) was hewn in the northeastern side of Pit 105, 0.6 m above the bottom. Pits 102, 104 and 105 contained a small amount of potsherds and animal bones, whereas Pit 101 contained a plethora of ceramics, flint artifacts and animal bones.
The pottery from the pits dated to Early Bronze Age IA and included bowls with thin walls (Fig. 4:1, 2); a bowl with a thick wall (Fig. 4:3); bowls decorated with thumb impressions below the rim (Fig. 4:4–6); holemouth jars (Fig. 4:7, 8), one of which (7) is decorated with a thumb impression below the rim; jar rims (Fig. 4: 9?, 10; Rim 9 probably belongs to a deep V-shaped bowl); a flat jar base (Fig. 4:11); ledge handles with thumb impressions (Fig. 4:12–14) and body fragments decorated with red paint applied to a brown-pink background (Fig. 4:15–17); potsherds that were probably used as stopper in secondary use (Fig. 4:18, 19) and a worked stone (Fig. 4:20) that may have been a spindle whorl.
The group of pits was probably part of a dwelling complex that did not survive. Two similar hewn pits had previously been exposed in a nearby cave (Permit Nos. A-4409, A-4415). The population that inhabited the site in the Early Bronze Age IA resided in caves, which were mostly damaged due to accelerated development activities in the area.
The Chipped-Stone Collection
The flint collection of H
ammim (South) is particularly small and consists of only 15 artifacts. The flint artifacts are not abraded and display fresh edges and scars. The majority is debitage and only a single core and tool were found. The core belongs to the Levallois industry and is made of fine-grained gray flint. A few flake blanks were produced from its debitage surface (Fig. 5:1). This artifact and similar others uncovered in the vicinity of the site (HA-ESI 120
), are attributed to the Mousterian culture and may indicate that certain activity occurred in the area during the Middle Paleolithic period (250,000–50,000 ky).
It is noteworthy that in spite of the EB I pottery found at the site, no diagnostic tools of this period, e.g., Canaanean sickle blades and fan scrapers, were encountered. The only tool is a denticulate, made on medium quality fine-grained flint, which is not indicative of any particular period (Fig. 5:2).