Area A. Remains of a rectangular building (c. 4.5 × 8.5 m) with an adjacent courtyard of similar dimensions along its northern side were exposed (Figs. 1, 2). The structure was damaged by a bulldozer and seems to have been disturbed in antiquity as well. The outer walls (W208, W209) were built of dressed kurkar stones (0.4–0.9 × 0.4 m). Wall 209 comprised three rows of stones (width 1.2 m) and was preserved one–four courses high (max. 0.85 m). Only the western part of the wall was preserved in its entirety. Its eastern side ended in a straight line and beyond it was a plastered floor (L105) that appears to have been an entrance. The continuation of the wall to the east (W202) was severely damaged; it rested on top of a foundation wall (W201). Wall 208 was built of a single row of dressed kurkar stones (0.3 × 0.6 m), except for its southern end, which was built of two rows of kurkar stones and preserved three–four courses high (max. 0.9 m). The eastern wall was not preserved; however, part of its foundation (W200) had survived. The building was divided into narrow elongated cells without openings (Loci 101, 102, 104; width 0.8 m), which were separated by partition walls (W203, W204, W205), built of a single row of kurkar stones (0.3 × 0.4–0.8 m) and preserved one–two courses high (Fig. 3). The floors of the cells and the bottom part of the partition walls were coated with a thick layer of plaster. Fragments of human bones were discovered in all the cells and it is presumed that they were used for burial.
The courtyard (L100) was severely damaged by the earthmoving work. Sections of a plaster floor and a cupmark (diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.3 m) that was embedded in it were discovered. A row of crumbling kurkar stones (W207) was exposed in the northern part of the courtyard; it possibly testifies to an early disturbance in the building.
The remains of foundation walls built of kurkar stones were exposed below the building and the courtyard. A corner of the foundation walls (W200, W201), built of one course of large roughly dressed kurkar stones, was uncovered in the southeastern corner of the building. It seems that the foundation walls protruded c. 0.2 m beyond the walls of the building. Below the level of the courtyard was a section of another foundation wall (W206) whose corner was discovered below the floor of Cell 102. Fill of tamped black soil mixed with stones and potsherds (max. thickness c. 0.7 m) was discovered between and below the foundation walls. The overall thickness of the mausoleum’s foundation reached a height of c. 1.3 m. It is assumed that the reason for such a massive foundation was the unstable ground of dunes and marshes in the region.
The ceramic finds in the building dated to the second century CE and included a cooking krater (Fig. 4:1), a jug with a square rim that is dated to the end of the first century and the second century CE (Fig. 4:2), saqiye jars of the second century CE (Fig. 4:3, 4), bag-shaped jars (Fig. 4: 5–8) that are dated to the first–second centuries CE, except for the jar in Fig. 4:8 that continues into the third century CE and discus lamps from the second century CE (Fig. 4:9–11). A zoomorphic vessel in the shape of a wild boar (Fig. 5; length 12 cm, width 5.5 cm, height 8.5 cm), made in a mold of reddish gritty clay, was also discovered in the building. The head of the boar was composed of parallel strips that formed gentle ribbing, and the body was fashioned with diagonal parallel lines and punctured with a sharp instrument. The vessel was probably used to hold liquid, as a pouring-in opening is set on the back of the boar and pouring-out apertures are in the nose and the head. Similar vessels of levigated clay with a lustrous slip, probably imported, were discovered at Tel Dor. The boar-shaped vessel from the site, which is coarser and not slipped, was probably of local manufacture.
Burial in mausoleums was customary mainly among pagans, although Jews also practiced this form of interment and placed their dead inside sarcophagi, of which no evidence was found in the excavated building. It seems that the elongated cells served as burial cells. A mausoleum with a similar internal partition, dating to the Early Roman period, was discovered in the Pelusium cemetery in northern Sinai (E. Oren, 1980. The Survey of Northern Sinai, 1972–1978. In Z. Meshel and I. Finkelstein [eds.], Sinai in Antiquity. Tel Aviv, p.126 [Hebrew]).
Area B. Eight cist tombs, aligned northeast-southwest and built of flat stone slabs, were documented; human bones were discerned. Three of the tombs were severed during the earthmoving operations and the other five were preserved in their entirety. The tombs should apparently be dated to the Ottoman period or the time of the British Mandate.