During March 2008, a trial excavation was conducted north of Tel Sokha (Permit No. A-5384; map ref. NIG 243166–722/711727–2045; OIG 193166–722/211727–2045), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Qibbuz Nir David, was directed by W. Atrash, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), T. Meltsen (surveying), A. Shapiro (GPS), H. Smithline (field photography), H. Abu ‘Uqsa (pottery reading) and H. Tahan (pottery drawing).
Two excavation squares (A, B) were opened c. 200 m apart, c. 500 m north of Tel Sokha, between Nahal Ha-Qibbuzim and Nahal ‘Amal. Remains of an agricultural settlement (farm?) that dated to the Late Roman period were discovered. These were spread across an extensive area and comprised part of a room or storehouse (Square A) and the remains of a wall and a work surface (Square B). These remains, which had been severely damaged by modern agricultural activity, seem to be the foundation courses of mud-brick construction that was not preserved.
Square A (Figs. 1, 2). Two walls (W10, W13; width 0.9 m), preserved a single course high, and a tamped earth floor (L16) that abutted them were exposed. The partially preserved walls were built of limestone fieldstones and founded on a layer of alluvium. The pottery vessels found inside the earthen floor included a bowl (Fig. 3:2), a cooking pot (Fig. 3:6), a jug (Fig. 3:7) and a lid (Fig. 3:12). A layer of clayey soil (L11) that overlaid the floor contained a few potsherds, among them bowls (Fig. 3:1, 3–5), jars (Fig. 3:8, 10, 11) and a lid (Fig. 3:13). The ceramic artifacts dated to the Late Roman period (third–fourth centuries CE).
Square B (Figs. 4, 5). A wall stump (W18), a tamped earth floor (L14) that abutted it and a round work surface (L21), located northeast of the wall, were exposed. Wall 18 (length 1.7 m, width 0.4 m), preserved a single course high, was built of limestone fieldstones that were founded on a soil layer devoid of finds, as was ascertained in the probe trench (L19). A few potsherds from the Late Roman period were found within Floor 14, which abutted the southern side of W18. A layer of clayey soil (L12) on the floor contained a few fragments of pottery vessels, including a jar that dated to the Late Roman period (Fig. 3:9). Work Surface 21 (diam. 1.5 m) consisted of wadi pebbles, placed atop a layer of sterile soil.