In November 2012, a trial excavation was conducted south of Tel Qashish (Permit No. A-6632; map ref. 210249–510/732019–135), prior to construction of an interchange on Highway 6. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Cross-Israel Highway Company, Ltd., was directed by A. Yaroshevich, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), R. Mishayev and M. Cohen (field drawings) and K. Sa‘id and L. Talmi. The site was discovered in trial trenches conducted prior to the excavation by the author and D. Kirzner.
Two layers of sediment were exposed (Fig. 1). The upper layer, which was removed with a backhoe, consisted of dark brown clay (grumosol; thickness c. 2 m) with pockets of mixed limestone and flint. The density of flint items in the layer was low. Below the upper layer was a layer of brown clay (thickness 0.2–0.4 m), rich in calcium carbonate concentrates that are indicative of high groundwater. This sediment was dry sieved, using a 0.5 cm mesh that yielded knapped flint items and several bone fragments. More than 4,166 flint items were collected in this layer, the vast majority of which bore no signs of wear. The flint items include 753 small chips (up to 1.5 cm long), 1,853 chunks, 1,461 items of debitage and 99 tools. The debitage assemblage comprised 850 flakes (58.2%), 170 primary items (11.6%), 148 core trimming elements (10.1%), 101 cores (6.9%), 94 bladelets (6.4%), 62 blades (4.2%), 31 naturally backed knives (2.1%) and five items of burin debitage (0.3%). The tool assemblage consisted of 30 retouched flakes (59.6%), 12 scrapers (12.1%), seven notches/denticulates (7.1%), seven retouched primary items (7.1%), four burins (4%), three microliths (3%), two retouched blades (2%), two retouched backed-blades (2%), two side-scrapers (2%) and one truncation (1%).
The flint assemblage exposed in the excavation is fairly heterogeneous and includes mainly bladelet cores (Fig. 2), bladelets and blades (Fig. 3) characteristic of the Upper Paleolithic and Epipalaeolithic periods. It seems that the items were swept there from the large Epipalaeolithic site located c. 50 m to the south and higher up (Yaroshevich et al. 2014
), as there are similarities in the production technology of the items and the kinds of flint at both sites.