A trial excavation was conducted in July 2000 at Khirbat Umm Kalkha, c. 200 m east of Moshav Yesodot (A-3260; map ref. NIG 18708–13/63533–5; OIG 13708–13/13533–5) following the discovery of ancient remains while overseeing the installation of a pipe. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Cellcom Corporation, was directed by A. Dagot, with the assistance of M. Peilstöcker, V. Pirsky (surveying), T. Sagiv (photography), M. Ben-Gal (pottery restoration) and M. Arnov (pottery drawing).
Three excavation squares were opened along an east–west axis (1–3), adjacent to the southern edge of Highway 3’s drainage ditch and north of a citrus grove. Building remains, dating to the end of Middle Bronze Age IIA, were exposed at a depth of c. 0.3 m below surface.
Square 1. A wall segment (exposed length 10.6 m, width 0.65 m) oriented east–west, which was built of different-sized fieldstones and medium-sized wadi pebbles, was excavated; it was preserved two courses high (0.36 m). Floors that consisted of small wadi pebbles, overlaying a bed of packed earth, abutted the wall on the north and south. A large quantity of ceramic finds from the end of MB IIA was discovered on the floors. Remains of a tabun were found on the floor in the northeastern corner of the square.
Square 2. The wall in Sq 1 extended into this square; a floor on its southern side was superposed with numerous fragments of pottery vessels from MB IIA. A level of small stones was uncovered north of the wall and below it were the remains of an oval-shaped kiln (1.3 × 2.0 m, preserved height 0.97 m) lined with clay-brick material. Inside and around the kiln were large quantities of potsherds dating to MB IIA, as well as ceramic industrial debris.
Square 3. Part of a surface, composed of large fieldstones and medium-sized river pebbles (1.7 × 2.0 m), was unearthed in the northern part of the square. Large numbers of MB IIA potsherds were revealed southwest of the surface. A beaten earth floor or the bed of a floor was detected in the southwestern corner of the square, overlain with fragments of pottery vessels from MB IIA and a bead.
Based on the stratigraphy and the ceramic finds, two MB IIA construction phases could be discerned. The kiln in Sq 2 probably belonged to the early phase and the wall and floors associated with it were part of the later phase.