During November 2005, a trial excavation was conducted at Khirbat ‘Amuda (Permit No. A-4578*; map ref. NIG 163536/612795; OIG 113536/112795), along the route of a gas pipe line. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and with financial support of the Israel Natural Gas-Line Company, was directed by P. Nahshoni, with the assistance of H. Lavi (administration), Y. Israel, D. Varga, Y. Huster and O. Feder, C. Amit (studio photography), C. Hersch (pottery drawing), G. Bijovsky (numismatics), R. Kletter (bronze weight identification), as well as laborers from Ashqelon.
Several concentrations of archaeological remains exist at the Khirbat ‘Amuda site. One concentration consists of building remains in a grove, c. 200 m southwest of the current excavation. Another concentration of pottery fragments is located on either side of the railroad track, in the cultivated fields of the surrounding settlements, c. 100 m north of the excavation. A salvage excavation, revealing building remains that dated to the latter part of the Byzantine period, had previously been conducted c. 100 m northeast of the current excavation (HA-ESI 114:93*–94*).
The current excavation was carried out along the edge of a cultivation plot on the southern slopes of a hill (Fig. 1). Four squares were opened, revealing a layer of refuse that contained potsherds from the end of the Byzantine period and a few small stones. An especially thick layer of fill (c. 0.6 m) was found in one of the squares. It contained pottery fragments and production debris that is indicative of a pottery workshop located nearby. Fragments of imported bowls (Fig. 2:1, 2), large kraters with combed decorations (Fig. 2:3), a Gaza-type jar (Fig. 2:4) and jugs (Fig. 2:5) were found. The vessels dated to the end of the Byzantine–beginning of the Early Islamic periods.
A square bronze weight (2.17 grams; Fig. 3), which is clearly marked on the right side with the letter B and bears another marking that may be the letter I, was found. The combination of IB denotes a siliqua (carat) value of ‘12’, which is the equivalent of 2 grams. The weight is dated to the Byzantine period.
Two coins were recovered; the earlier one is a coin of Valentinian III (425–450 CE; IAA 99857) and the later one is a follis of Constans II (c. 643 CE; IAA 99858; Fig. 4).
The excavated area was located along the southern fringes of the settlement and probably served as a refuse site in the Byzantine and the beginning of the Early Islamic periods.