During October 2000 a trial excavation was conducted in Lot 3140 on Ohalē Kedar Street in Rosh Ha-‘Ayin (Permit No. A-3269*; map ref. NIG 19635–40/66606–13; OIG 14635–40/16606–13). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by U. ‘Ad, assisted by A. Hajian and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting), as well as by the antiquities inspectors of the IAA Central District.
Architectural remains and a cave that were discerned in a survey and trial trenches in the area prompted the excavation, whose area was c. 30–100 m north and northeast of excavations carried out by R. Avner and H. Torge in 1995–1996 (ESI 19:40*) and c. 100 m west of the excavation conducted by E. Haddad (ESI 20:45*).
Three excavation areas were opened and the entrance to the cave was cleaned (Fig. 1).
(6 × 7 m). Two parallel walls (W1, W2; Fig. 2) were exposed. Wall 2 was on the east side of the square and only its upper course was revealed. Wall 1 (4 m long), on the west side of the square, was preserved three courses high and built breadthwise on bedrock, across the slope. It seems the wall served as a retaining wall for a stone fill on its east, which was probably the collapse of an ancient building whose remains were not found. Another wall (W2a) was discovered at the northern end of W2.
(4 × 5 m). Remains of an east–west oriented wall were uncovered. These included several partly dressed fieldstones and a line in bedrock that indicated the foundation trench of the wall’s continuation (Fig. 3).
(3 × 5 m). Several partly dressed fieldstones, whose precise direction could not be ascertained due to the limitations of the excavation area, were found.
The close proximity to bedrock in Areas 2 and 3 affected the finds’ state of preservation.
The potsherds recovered from the vicinity of the walls dated from Iron Age II to the end of the Persian-beginning of the Hellenistic period (eighth–fourth centuries BCE). Only a handful of potsherds found close to surface dated to the Byzantine period (fifth–sixth centuries CE).
The survey conducted inside the cave after the modern fill was removed from its entrance, revealed a heap of small stones that had been discarded inside through a circular aperture in the cave’s ceiling. Two rock-hewn kokhim that were coated with mud plaster were noted in the southern wall.
The excavated remains seem to be part of a large settlement whose southern section was exposed in Avner and Torge’s excavation and its eastern segment was uncovered in Haddad’s excavation. The settlement had several phases that ranged from the end of Iron Age II until the end of the Persian-beginning of the Hellenistic period. The limited excavation area and the relatively poor preservation did not enable the reconstruction of the buildings at the site. During the Byzantine period, the site was apparently converted into a cultivation plot and the stones cleared from the area were discarded into the cave discovered in the survey.