During July–August 2000 an excavation was conducted at the site of Be’er Zonam (License No. G-94/2000; map ref. NIG 22885/77415; OIG 17885/27415). The excavation, on behalf of the University of Rochester and the Antiquities Authority and financed by the University of Rochester, was directed by D. Shalem, with the assistance of H. Tahan (drafting and drawing of pottery vessels) and the participation of students from the University of Rochester.
During the survey of the Shomera Map in the Upper Galilee a site that was hitherto unknown was discovered north of Kefar Fassuta. The site extends across c. 45 dunams in the eastern part of the ‘Aqrab Valley, to the western foot of Horbat ‘Aqrab. Based on the finds the site should be dated to the Late Chalcolithic period and the Early Bronze Age. The area of the Early Bronze Age site is small and extends only atop the eastern end of the Chalcolithic settlement.
Three and a half squares were excavated, revealing two strata: Stratum 1 from the Late Chalcolithic period and Stratum 2 from EB I.
Stratum 1 (Fig. 1;elevations are relative). A wall (W301; length 12.6 m, width 0.6–0.7 m), oriented east–west was exposed in the southern part of the area. Wall 301, which delineated the northern side of a building, was built on top of bedrock and was preserved four courses high. No floor was discerned, but the elevation of the habitation level could be determined by a fieldstone-built partition (W306), two installations and a large broken vessel that was found alongside the wall.
North of W301 was a small section of another, almost parallel wall (W602) that was either robbed or destroyed, but was founded on a fill of terra rosa that included small stones, sherds, flints and bones. Therefore, the line W602 was clearly apparent on surface. All the potsherds from the fill dated to the Late Chalcolithic period. The eastern end of W602 could be reconstructed until a bedrock surface that was exposed in the eastern part of the excavation area. At the western end of W602, the line of the building’s southwestern corner was visible where it turned north.
A narrow space (width 0.75 m) with a layer of small fieldstones remained between the two walls. Several installations, some built on top of bedrock, were discovered north of W602. At the eastern end, along the excavation balk, terra rosa soil overlaid the exposed bedrock. The fragments of pottery vessels from this period included vessels that were probably produced in the region (Fig. 2:1–3, 5–8), ‘Golan’ vessels (Fig. 2:4, 9) and also ‘Hula’-ware vessels (Fig. , 11).
Stratum 2 (Fig. 3; elevations are relative). The Early Bronze Age level was exposed at a depth of only 0.2–0.3 m below surface and directly above Stratum 1. This occupation level included floors, installations and pottery vessels. Sections of a floor (L402) that consisted of a tamped layer of small stones, sherds, flints and bones was found in the southeastern part of the excavation area, on top of W301 and in the northern part of the area. The floor extended in the west to a surface of flat stones (L406) with potsherds and very small stones between them. Several jars and hole-mouth vessels (Fig. 4:3–5) were found in situ above L406. To its west, the bases of several other storage jars were discovered, as well as fragments of fired, elliptical mud bricks. The assemblage of pottery vessels in situ indicates that this stratum should be dated to EB I. Fragments of pottery vessels from several phases of the Early Bronze Age (Fig. 4:1, 2) were recovered from the excavation, attesting to the occupation of the site during these phases, although their remains were neither preserved nor discovered in the excavation.