During April 2003 a trial excavation was conducted at the site of Zarnuqa, in the Qiryat Moshe neighborhood of Rehovot (Permit No. A-3891*; map ref. NIG 18015/64300; OIG 13015/14300). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by P. Fogel, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), A. Buchennino and P. Gendelman (dating of ceramic finds).
The site is located inside the village of Zarnuqa, on whose ruins a temporary immigrant camp was built in 1948. Previous excavations at the site revealed buildings and a winepress, dating to the Byzantine period (HA-ESI 114:71*).
Five squares were opened based on preliminary examinations.
Square I (2.5 × 2.5 m). A burnt layer, which contained several bones of sheep and goats, was exposed at a depth of 0.7 m below surface, in the northern part of the square. The ceramic finds in the burnt layer were mixed and included fragments of pottery vessels from the Late Byzantine and the Ottoman periods. Several medium-sized fieldstones were discovered near the burnt layer.
Square II (2.5 × 2.5 m). A layer (1.4 × 1.7 m, depth 0.5 m) of small and medium fieldstones without bonding material and oriented southeast–northwest was discovered. Mixed pottery fragments that ranged in date from the Late Byzantine period until the modern era were uncovered.
Square III (1.9 × 3.0 m). The foundations of a modern house were revealed in the northern and western balks of the square. Mixed, poorly preserved pottery fragments that dated to the Byzantine period and the nineteenth century CE were found next to the foundations. A concentration of fieldstones was discerned in the southern balk of the square.
Squares IV (1.4 × 2.9 m) and V (1.4 × 1.8 m). These squares were opened after clusters of potsherds were discovered in the sections of the preliminary trial trenches. Mixed potsherds that dated from the Byzantine period until the modern era were found, but no architectural remains were discovered.
The ceramic finds consisted mostly of worn and mixed body fragments that dated to various periods. The character of the finds indicates that the site can be ascribed to the Ottoman period and probably to earlier periods as well.