The excavation was conducted within a declared antiquities site. The remains of a large building were exposed on the slope of a hill, adjacent to the Nahal Hilazon wadi channel. The ceramic finds dated the building to the Hellenistic (third–second centuries BCE) and the Mamluk (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE) periods.
Ten excavation squares and five half squares were opened along the planned route. The remains of a massive wall (W1) were exposed for a distance of c. 45 m in Squares 19–24. Wall 1 was oriented east–west and seemed to have been the northern wall of a large structure (Fig. 1). It was mostly founded on bedrock, occasionally on leveled bedrock and elsewhere, within a foundation trench. The wall was built of foundation (width 0.8 m) and upper courses (width 0.7 m; Fig. 2) of different-sized fieldstones; some were roughly hewn and placed one atop the other. A slightly different method of construction was employed in the middle portion of the wall (Squares 23, 24). Here, the ashlar stones, mostly arranged as headers, were used in pilasters and corners, and fieldstones were placed between them. This is primarily a Phoenician building method that was common to Hellenistic sites, such as Tel Anafa and Tel Dor. Its appearance in only 10 m of the exposed W1 may be indicative of several phases in the construction of the building. Wall 1 was adjoined on the east by Wall 6, which formed the eastern corner of the building. The ends of four other walls (preserved height 0.5–1.6 m) abutted W1 on the south and served as interior partitions in the building. One of these walls (W2) was bonded together with W1 and the others simply joined it (W3, W4, W5).
The ceramic finds were mostly recovered from the fill outside the building. Pottery dating to the Hellenistic period came from the lower levels, close to bedrock. The higher levels, which consisted of alluvium fill that had washed down from the hill and was perpendicularly stratified next to W1, were overlaid with potsherds, dating mostly to the Mamluk period. Other ceramic finds from the Mamluk period, with no architectural association, were discovered in each of the excavation areas.
The ceramic finds from the Hellenistic period included bowls (Fig. 3:1–3), kraters (Fig. 3:4, 5), cooking pots (Fig. 3:6–10), jars (Fig. 3:11–13), an amphora (Fig. 3:14), a stand (Fig. 3:15), a jug (Fig. 3:16), an unguentarium (Fig. 3:17) and a juglet (Fig. 3:18). Similar pottery assemblages are known from Tel Dor, Tel Keisan and Yoqne‘am.
The ceramic finds from the Mamluk period included glazed pottery vessels (green, yellow or green and yellow), as well as undecorated and unglazed pottery vessels, some of which were handmade. The glazed pottery vessels comprised a variety of different-sized bowls, some crudely incised and some undecorated (Fig. 4:1–15), a cooking bowl (Fig. 4:16), a jug (Fig. 4:17) and pinched-bowl-type lamps (Fig. 18, 19). In addition to the locally produced pottery, two fragments of imported vessels were discovered. One was a bowl fragment, originally imported from northern Italy (Fig. 4:20) and the other was a platter fragment from Spain (Fig. 4:21). The unglazed pottery vessels were mostly bowls (Fig. 5:1–4), a krater (Fig. 5:5), cooking vessels (Fig. 5:6, 7), a cup (? Fig. 5:8), jugs (Fig. 5:9–12), jars (Fig. 5:13, 14) and a bowl-type lamp (Fig. 5:15). A comparison with other ceramic assemblages from the region, e.g., Giv’at Yasaf (Tel a-Ras), reveals that most of the vessels occur in post-Crusader assemblages from the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE and they are absent from Crusader assemblages, e.g., ‘Akko.
The size of the building and its location on the slope of a hill, next to an extensive agricultural area, indicates it was not a regular residential structure, but possibly a farmstead. Based on the architecture and the ceramic finds it seems that at least part of the building was constructed during the Hellenistic period. The later pottery vessels attest to the renewed use of the building in the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE, probably by farmers who settled there after the fall of the Crusader kingdom.