At the end of December 2020, a salvage excavation was conducted in Kibbutz Ayelet Ha-Shahar (Permit No. A-8884; map ref. 253833–76/769716–62; Fig. 1) after antiquities were discovered by Israel Antiquities Authority inspector Y. Lang while a drainage trench was being dug. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Upper Galilee Regional Council, was directed by Y. Lerer, with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi (administration), A. Kleiner (photogrammetry and drone photography), A. Shapiro (GIS and location map), E. Dalali-Amos (plan) and laborers from Kafr Manda.
The excavation area (N3; 4 × 6 m) lies on flat land at the foot of Tel Hazor, c. 20 m south of the Tel Hazor museum. The excavation uncovered remains of a building dated to the ninth century BCE.
While digging foundations for the Tel Hazor museum in the late 1950s, a channel made of basalt stones was uncovered (Area N; Yadin 1969:8–10). A similar channel was excavated c. 15 m west of this one in 2000 (Area N1; Covello-Paran 2007 [Fig. 1: A-3249]). Excavations inside the kibbutz in 2017 revealed sparse building remains and Intermediate Bronze Age potsherds (Kleiner 2018, [Fig. 1: A-7920], and see details of further excavations there).
The current excavation uncovered a section of a north–south wall built of large fieldstones (W101; length 3 m; Figs. 2, 3). Paving made of river pebbles and small and medium-sized fieldstones (L100, L105) was revealed on both sides of the wall. An underground installation (L104; diam. 0.8 m; Fig. 4) uncovered beside the wall’s eastern face was built partly of medium-sized fieldstones and partly hewn into the soft nari bedrock; it was probably a silo. The installation’s lower part contained concentrations of burnt organic matter (B1006). The meager pottery fragments recovered provide insufficient evidence to date the excavated remains. The paving was constructed using a method similar to that characteristic of Stratum VIII at Tel Hazor (Yadin et al. 1960: Pl. V), which is dated to the ninth century BCE. Based on this similarity, the remains from the current excavation can be dated to the same period.
Covello-Paran K. 2007. Tel Hazor: Areas Q (The Eastern Spur) and N. ‘Atiqot 55:35*–37*.
Yadin Y. 1969. Excavations at Hazor, 1968–1969: Preliminary Communiqué. IEJ 19:1–19.
Yadin Y., Aharoni Y., Amiran R., Dothan T., Dunayevsky I. and Perrot 1960. Hazor II. Jerusalem.