The 2006 season
Twelve excavation squares were opened in Areas A–C (Fig. 2).
Area A (Fig. 3)
A single square (4 × 5 m) in the southeastern end of the site was excavated. An earthen floor that covered a pebbled surface was found. Two storage jars were embedded into the margins of the pebbled surface.
Area B (Fig 4)
Six squares were opened and part of a built complex was unearthed. A small probe at the southeastern end of the complex yielded two fenestrated cultic stands, lying on a packed-earth floor near a stepped mud-brick platform (Fig. 5). These stands indicate the cultic nature of the complex. The stands and the platform, buried under collapsed mud bricks and stone, were overlain with a later earthen floor. Three storage jars were discovered in the corner of a small room in the northern end of the excavated area.
Area C
Five squares were excavated in the east and northeast; open-space living surfaces and refuse pits were found (see Fig. 2).
The 2007 and 2008 seasons
The excavation continued only in Area B (c. 200 sq m; Fig. 6) and three phases (I–III) were discerned. The phases seem to have been close in time, dating to the late eleventh–early tenth centuries BCE, analogous to Tell Qasile Stratum X. The finds included cultic and various other pottery vessels, as well as numerous grinding and pounding artifacts.
Phase III
This earliest phase included living surfaces that consisted of thick ash layers and installations, underlying walls and floors of Phase II. The ash layers covered the slope and accumulated in depressions and pits, especially at the lower eastern part beneath W6 and farther east (L310). The stone pavement (L328) found in the storeroom and underlying W23 of Phase II and the floor and stone installation (L356; Fig. 7), underlying the mud-brick walls (W28, W37) of Structure 365, also belonged to this phase.

 Phase II (Fig. 8)

The site underwent intensive construction in this phase. Two main stone structures (L209 and L249) and another structure (L365) of mud bricks and stone were built.
Structure 209
This structure was the first to be built on the higher part of the slope. It comprised two contiguous small rooms in the west and an adjacent courtyard with a tabun. The courtyard's floor extended as far as Structure 365 in the northeast, which apparently was associated with Structure 209. It seems that the courtyard of Structure 209 was partly cut by the northern wall (W15) of Structure 249, which appears to be a revetment wall. Nevertheless, Structure 209 continued to be used after the construction of Structure 249.
The southern room (L238; 1.7 × 2.6 m) was paved with stones. Ash and pottery vessels were found on the floor. A tabun was placed in the courtyard, next to the doorway that led into the room.
The northern room (L241; 1.15 × 1.60 m), which may have served as a storeroom, was also accessible from the courtyard. It contained three storage jars in its northeastern corner and a lion-headed cup, decorated with typical Philistine motifs (Fig. 9), was found on the earthen floor, indicating that this structure was part of the original cultic complex. 


Structure 365
This mud-brick and stone structure was situated in the northern end of Area B and only its southern end was excavated. Room 356 was delineated by mud-brick walls in the south (W28) and the west (W37) and a stone wall in the east (W26). A stone installation was found in the corner of W28 and W37. Another mud-brick wall (W27), adjacent to W26 on the east, possibly enclosed another room that was not excavated. The courtyard of Structure 209 extended as far as W28. Due to the limited excavated portion of this structure, it was impossible to determine its function. Collapsed mud bricks in Room 356 attest to a sudden destruction.   


Structure 249
This well-planned structure was built to the south of the earlier Structure 209. Its southwestern wall (W29) was built on the slope after it had partly been cut away, thus creating a leveled surface, c. 1 m lower than the floors of Structure 209. The walls (width 0.54–0.70 m), built of pebbles and fieldstones of various sizes, were preserved 1.0–1.6 m high.
The rooms and courtyards were arranged in an L-shaped manner: the main courtyard in the west, the storeroom in the south, separated from the courtyard by a short wall and the Sanctuary adjacent to the storeroom in the east. A second courtyard with a paved area was in the north and northeast of the main courtyard. Both the Sanctuary and the storeroom were accessed via doorways in the southern end of the main courtyard; however, entering the Sanctuary required a perpendicular turn to the left.
The main courtyard was a rather small enclosure (L249; 4.0 × 4.5 m) with a stone bench built along the eastern wall (W6) and another short mud-brick and stone bench against the southern wall (W23). A sacrificial, nearly square altar (1.1 × 1.2, height 0.2 m) built of three undressed large stones and supported by small stones was situated in the center. A pit (L260; diam. 0.8 m, depth 0.9 m) that functioned as a drain was to the south of the altar. A thick ash layer covered most of the earthen floor. A small rounded hearth (L266; diam. 0.45 m, depth. 0.3 m) was cut into the natural loess soil east of the altar. Three small favissa pits (L352, L353, L364; diam. 0.4 m, depth 0.2–0.3 m) were cut into the courtyard floor, containing bones, pottery and stone vessels. Collapsed mud bricks topped with stone rubble covered the ash layer.
The finds in the courtyard included many grinding and pounding stone vessels; several storage jars smashed by collapsed rubble were found along the walls and a group of cylindrical loom weights was found near the northern wall (W15). A figurative cultic stand, possibly originating from a higher shelf, was found within the collapsed mud bricks.
The north-eastern courtyard (L326), situated east of W6 near the entrance to Courtyard 249, was found partly paved with stones. It extended as far as W7 and W13 and included a stone bench (W4).   
The storeroom (L261; 2.0 × 2.8 m)was entered from Courtyard 249. A stone bench (0.9 × 1.1 m, height 0.4 m) and a bin of stone and clay (L311; 0.9 × 1.0 m, height 0.68 m) were built along its southern wall (W30). Part of the floor was paved with large stones (L328) and this paving preceded the construction of the walls, filling up an existing depression and leveling the surface in preparation for the construction of Structure 249.
The finds in the storeroom included various pottery vessels, stone vessels and an Egyptian amphora, as well as a single fragment of a figurative cultic stand, which was found in Courtyard 249. The finds inside Installation 311 included parts of a restorable cooking pot, a bowl, some bones and a fragment of a bronze object. It may have served as a favissa, since it was intentionally filled up with earth and stones.
The sanctuary was an elongated room(L211; 2.0 × 5.2 m), accessed from the courtyard, in which two phases were discerned. The eastern wall (W18) had probably been built of mud bricks, as its collapse on the floor consisted of brick material. The earthen floor was plastered with clay and presumably white-washed, extending as far as the benches that were built along most of the walls.
A stepped platform was found in the eastern end. The lower step consisted of packed earth and the higher one was then added, cutting into the lower step and comprising three courses of single bricks. A standing stone was inserted into the platform, next to the higher step.
In addition to the cultic stands mentioned above, the finds also included a strainer jug, chalices, storage jars, a bronze knife, an earring, a bead and two small peaces of a gold-leaf. All these lay buried under a thick layer of rubble and mud-brick material that had been leveled and another floor was placed above (L251 of Phase I). The cause for the sudden destruction is not clear. It may have been the outcome of an earthquake, as demonstrated by north–south oriented cracks in the walls and in the floor of the Sanctuary.
Phase I
Most of Structures 209, 249 and 365 lay in ruins in this phase. An earthen floor (L251; Fig. 10) and a stone column base were installed on top of the leveled debris in the Sanctuary. A new wall on a stone foundation was built at the eastern end (W11). Somewhat later, another wall (W5), possibly functioning as a revetment wall, was built next to it on the east.
An open-area living surface with ovens was found northeast (L244, L316) and southeast (L230, L317) of the sanctuary. Another living surface, badly preserved due to its proximity to the cultivated surface, was traced overlying Structure 209.