During February–March 2004, a trial excavation was conducted in Herzliyya C (Permit No. A-4120*; map ref. NIG 182987/674717; OIG 132987/174717), following the discovery of ancient remains by the railroad tracks when a drainage pipe was installed. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Israel Railways Authority, was directed by L. Rauchberger, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam and E. Bahar (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), A. Glick (GPS surveying) and T. Kornfeld (drafting). Additional assistance was rendered by E. Ayash, D. Barkan, U. ‘Ad and E. Yannai.
The excavation area near Ha-Mesila Street was in a valley that extends east of the second kurkar ridge, west of the Tel Aviv-Haifa railroad track and c. 150 m as the crow flies southeast of the Herzliyya B site (Map of Herzliyya ; Site 48). The valley is currently covered with alluvium, but used to have large swamps in the past.
One excavation square was opened, revealing a wall stump and the floor of an installation in the eastern part (Fig. 1).
The wall (W103; width 0.55 m) was built of three rows of small, undressed kurkar stones and survived three courses high, including a single foundation course below the floor level. A very thick floor (L104; thickness 0.1 m), which abutted the northern side of the wall and sloped slightly northward, was composed of four layers: An upper layer of white hydraulic plaster (1.5 cm), a layer of gray mortar (3 cm), another layer of smooth white plaster (0.5 cm) and a bottom layer of gray mortar that contained numerous carbon inclusions (4–5 cm); both plaster and mortar layers were mixed with crushed shells (Fig. 2). The bedding below the floor consisted of two courses of fieldstones with hamra soil. The stones in the lower course were slightly larger than those in the upper course, which had a fill of dark soil between them (L106). The thickness of the floor and the quality of its bedding foundations probably stemmed from the necessity to overcome the instability of the alluvial soil in the region.
The pottery finds included a few fragments of cooking pots from the Byzantine period found above and below the floor (L104). A handle fragment of a Middle Bronze Age juglet (Yannai, pers. comm.) was recovered from the alluvium above the installation. It is thought to have originated from one of the tombs from the period that are located in the second kurkar ridge, west of the site (Map of Herzliyya , Sites 20, 74).
It seems that the wall and the floor were part of an installation for processing liquids that was built in the Byzantine period, after the Herzliyya swamp was drained by means of a tunnel that was cut in the second kurkar ridge (Tsuk and Ayalon, 1993. Niqrot Tsurim 19:63–65).