During November 2006, an excavation was conducted at Khirbat el-Mukheizin (Permit No. A-4948*; map ref. NIG 18236–44/63451–6; OIG 13236–44/13451–6), after ancient remains were damaged by mechanical equipment. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Kal Binyan Company, Ltd., was directed by D. Golan (photography), with the assistance of Y. Ohayon (administration), E.C.M. van den Brink (pottery reading), C. Hersch (pottery drawing) and E. Yannai, M. Peilstöker, M. Ajami and F. Volynsky.
The site is located c. 2.5 km north of Qibbuz Haefez Hayyim. The excavation area was on a hill next to Nahal Timna, a tributary of Nahal Soreq. Three squares (A, B, C) were opened within the drainage ditch of a road that runs northeast-southwest (Fig. 1). Two refuse pits dating to Middle Bronze IIB and Late Bronze II and a mud-brick wall were exposed. Previous excavations at the site had revealed a wall and a floor from the end of the Byzantine period–beginning of the Early Islamic period (HA-ESI 115:76*–77*) and a cemetery from MB IIA (A. Yasur-Landau and M. Guzowska, 2005, Salvage Excavations Reports, No. 2:38–58).
Square A (2.5 x 5.0 m). This square was opened along the edge of the drainage ditch. An oval pit (L100; diam. 1.4–1.6 m, depth 1.5 m; Figs. 2–4) that contained gray soil was exposed at a depth of 0.15 m below surface. The pit became wider toward the bottom and at a depth of 0.6 m from the top a light brown-colored mud-brick matrix (0.12 x 0.20 x 0.20 m) was discovered, adjacent to the northern side. A gray-white layer of soil (thickness 2–3 mm) was exposed on the bottom of the pit. The pottery fragments recovered from the pit dated to MB IIB, including jars (Fig. 5:2, 3), among them a “Red White Blue” jar (Fig. 5:4) and LB II, including bowls (Fig. 5:7, 8, 12–14) and a cooking pot (Fig. 5:18). Animal bones were also discovered. The shape of the pit is reminiscent of a burial shaft; however, no human bones were discovered and the artifacts in the pit do not allude to an interment, but rather to a refuse pit.
Square B (Fig. 6). This square, c. 15 m southwest of Square A, was opened along the edge of the drainage ditch. A refuse pit whose shape is unclear was exposed, although only partly excavated (L200; upper width 0.6 m, bottom width 2 m, depth 1.62 m). The pit contained gray soil mixed with potsherds that mostly dated to MB IIB, including a krater (Fig. 5:5) and a jar (Fig. 5:6), and to LB II, including bowls (Fig. 5:9–11, 15), kraters (Fig. 5:16, 17), a jar (Fig. 5:19) and a flask (Fig. 5:20). This pit also yielded a single fragment of a holemouth rim from the Wadi Rabah culture (Fig. 5:1). Southeast of the pit, at the bottom of the drainage ditch, a wall that was built of one or two rows of mud bricks (L201; length 1.2 m, max. width 0.3 m; Fig. 7) was exposed. The mud bricks, not uniform in shape or color, were poorly preserved and probably in secondary use. The wall extended as far as the edge of the refuse pit; however, it is unclear if they were connected. Jar fragments were discovered between the mud bricks and north of the wall.
Square C. This square was c. 30 m west of Square B, along the edge of the drainage ditch. A few non-diagnostic potsherds and flint industrial debitage were scattered at a depth of 0.5 m below surface.
The remains in the excavation dated to MB IIB and LB II, the latter never before exposed at the site. A settlement was probably situated at the site during these periods, using Nahal Timna as its source of water. The region is known to have been occupied by villages during MB II, such as Khirbat Umm Kalkha (Yesodot), which is c. 4 km northeast of the site (‘Atiqot 49:5–11) and Revadim, located c. 4 km southeast of the site (Gophna R. and Beck P, 1981, Tel Aviv 8:45–81). According to Gophna and Beck, rural villages in the region were connected to Yavne-Yam, which was the main site in the area during this period.