During September 2007, a salvage excavation was conducted at Khirbat Nina, north of Nahal Soreq (Permit No. A-4894*; map ref. NIG 184642–65/635557–96; OIG 134642–65/135557–96), in the wake of damage to the site when a gas pipeline was installed. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Natural Gas Lines Ltd., was directed by E. Yannai, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration) and C. Hersch (pottery drawing).
The site is located in an alluvial area that was plowed to a shallow depth and exposed. Three bones were found on the surface in the northern part of the excavation and a trial square was opened in the southern part. Two skeletons were found in situ
and part of the left hip bone of a third skeleton was discovered ex situ
in the square. The skeletons were not accompanied by any funerary offerings; their heads were in the west, facing south. Based on their position and the absence of any finds it can be assumed that these were Muslim graves, even though no datable artifacts were recovered. The trial square also contained dark brown mud-brick material with no remains of walls, stone foundations or floors, yet with a few potsherds from Middle Bronze IIA-B. These included three bowls (Fig. 1:1–3), a krater (Fig. 1:4), a cooking pot (Fig. 1:5) and two jars (Fig. 1:6, 7). It seems that this was part of a room or a pit whose eastern section was cut by the trench for the gas pipe and its outline was incomplete.
On the surface were two bronze daggers (Fig. 1:13, 14) and scattered potsherds from the Late Bronze Age, including bowls (Fig. 1:8, 9), kraters (Fig. 1:10, 11) and a jar (Fig. 1:12).
The remains exposed in the excavation and those discovered on the surface indicate that Khirbat Nina was a settlement and not a cemetery. It was first occupied during the transition phase between Middle Bronze IIA and IIB and reoccupied in the Late Bronze Age. The small-scale excavation was insufficient to determine whether the excavated area was part of an extensive site or just several refuse pits of a nearby settlement. Nevertheless, the finds from Khirbat Nina are consistent with the settlement picture in the Nahal Soreq basin, where Tel Gezer was the main site and around it a number of smaller settlements flourished. To the north of Khirbat Nina is Tel Malot and to the east is Tel Bet Shemesh. Small open settlements were located at Yesodot and Tel Batash. It can reasonably be suggested that Khirbat Nina was a similar open settlement, which is covered today with deep alluvium and only a small sample of it was exposed in the current excavation.