In November 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at Kibbutz Bahan (Permit No. A-6935; map ref. 204712–29/697145–62; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by K.S.M.G. Infrastructure & Development Works Contractors, Ltd., was directed by D. Masarwa (photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), R. Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), C. Ben-Ari (GPS), O. Segal (ceramics) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
Two excavation squares were opened along the southeastern fringes of Tel Bahan, situated on the western slopes of the Samarian foothills at the northeastern end of ‘Emeq Hefer and c. 1 km east of Qaqon fortress. Remains of a massive building dating to the Middle Bronze Age II and a rock-hewn pit were exposed (Fig. 2).
In 2007 and early 2008, a cave, cupmarks, quarries, a lime pit and wine presses were exposed northwest of the current excavation area (Torge 2010
; Fig. 1:1). In 2009, the following antiquities were uncovered in an excavation conducted north of the current one: three wine presses, a rock-hewn collecting vat, an agricultural terrace retaining wall, a lime pit, two stone clearance heaps and a stone quarry (Masarwa 2011
; Fig. 1:2). In 2010, building remains ascribed to the Middle Bronze Age II and remains of a massive wall, probably an LB city wall, were revealed slightly west of the excavation area (‘Azab 2011
; Fig. 1:3). In late 2013, at least two construction phases of settlement remains dating to the MB IIB were exposed west of the excavation (Permit No. A-6906; Fig. 1:4).
The corner of a massive building with wide walls (W101, W103; max. width 1.1 m; Fig. 3) was uncovered in the eastern part of the excavation area. The walls were built of two rows of medium-sized and large fieldstones, with small fieldstones in between; they were preserved to a height of one course. A tamped chalk floor (L104) abutted the walls. Ceramic artifacts were discovered above and below the floor, including bowls (Fig. 4:1–4) and jars (Fig. 4:5, 6), dating to the MB II.
A rock-hewn pit (L200; Fig. 5), whose ceiling collapsed, was exposed in the western part of the excavation area. Brown earth mixed with medium-sized and large fieldstones was exposed in a probe excavated in the pit by means of a backhoe (depth 3 m); the pit was not completely excavated. It seems that the finds revealed in the excavation are related to the MB architectural remains that were previously discovered in excavations at the site.