In June 2003, a salvage excavation was conducted southwest of Har Shahar in the Negev Highlands, c. 4 km northeast of Kibbutz Mash’abbe Sade (Permit No. A-3918; map ref. 182510/548730; Fig. 1), prior to quarrying. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities authority and underwritten by A. Ben-Ari Company, Ltd., was directed by T. Erickson-Gini (field photography) and B.A. Saidel (plan), with the assistance of S. Gal (Plan) and H. Khalaily (flint artifacts).
The site was first discovered by H. Bar-Ziv, the IAA Negev District Inspector, in the early 1990s. Bar-Ziv documented on the hilltop opposite to Har Shahar tumuli from the Early Bronze Age and traces of small structures built of small field stones (Bar-Ziv, pers. comm.).
A small rectangular structure (L10; 2.35 × 5.50 m, height 0.61 m; Figs. 2, 3) was exposed. The structure was built from one course of medium and large field stones (average dimensions 0.10 × 0.15 × 0.35 m), collected from the bedrock outcrops in the immediate area. The stones had a grayish patina commonly found on structures of the Early Bronze Age throughout the Negev Highlands. The western edge of the structure appears to have been scattered over the surface. The area west of the structure, up to a distance of 3 m and down to the bedrock, was excavated and the material was sieved. No definitive remains were found in the structure or in the adjoining area. Lithic material was collected and examined; however, none of this material was helpful in determining the function or the date of the structure. Based on the construction method and the presence of other nearby structures from the Early Bronze Age, the structure seems to date from this period.