During November 2005, a trial excavation was conducted next to the intersection at the entrance to Moshav Eshta’ol (Permit No. A-4624; map ref. NIG 20120–5/63180–90; OIG 15120–5/13180–90; Fig. 1), prior to the widening of Route 38. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Department of Public Works, was directed by G. Solimany, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), V. Pirsky (surveying) and a team of the Judea District antiquities inspectors.
The site is situated at the confluence of Nahal Kesalon, descending from the east and a channel that descends toward it from the northeast. The site had previously been damaged by electricity and sewer lines, as well as the planting of trees adjacent to Route 38. Probe trenches at the site exposed a stone level, potsherds and numerous flint implements. Two excavation squares were opened (each of 4 × 4 m; Fig. 2).
Below a fill of modern soil (L100; Fig. 3), a level of small and medium-sized broken limestone appeared in both squares. The stone level extended across the entire area of the southern square (L103; Fig. 4) and only in the southern and western parts of the northern square (L102; Fig. 5). Numerous potsherds and flint implements were found in a horizontal layer above the stone level, which was dismantled and a dark soil fill that contained a few potsherds and flint emerged below it.
It seems that most of the ceramic finds dated to Early Bronze I and the stone level belonged to a large settlement from this period, which was exposed in other excavations at the site (B-311/2006, B-322/2007; HA-ESI 120
, HA-ESI 121