During November 2009, a salvage excavation was conducted at Khirbat ‘Alya (Permit No. A- 5775; map ref. 225068–125/769061–213), prior to casting concrete in a drainage channel that runs along the fringes of the site. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Department of Public works, was directed by G.B. Jaffe, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), Y. Nemichnitzer (surveying). A. Peretz (field photography), H. Tahan (pottery drawing), H. Shor (metallurgical laboratory), D. Syon (numismatics), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass) and M. Hartal (guidance and pottery reading).
One square (4×6 m; Fig. 1) was excavated close to the architectural remains that were visible in the drainage channel, on the western slope of the hill. A small terrace wall built of medium-sized fieldstones was exposed c. 0.1 m below the surface. The wall postdated the finds from the Byzantine period (below), although it was not possible to date it precisely. It was removed and is not marked on the site plan.
The top of a wall (W108; length in access of 4 m, width c. 0.6 m; Fig. 2) that crossed the entire width of the square was exposed below the surface layer. No floors that abutted the wall were identified. A probe (L123; depth 1.34 m; Fig. 1: Section 1-1) was excavated adjacent to the southern side of W108 and four courses built of large, well-dressed stones and founded on bedrock were exposed (Fig. 3). Some stone collapse (L110) was discovered next to the bottom of the wall in the probe, but its nature can not be determined because only a small section of the collapse was uncovered.
Three tombs (T111, T112, T121; Figs. 1, 4), built of medium and large stones and sealed with stone slabs, were exposed south of W108. Their elevation was almost identical to that of the top of the wall, but they were not excavated.
A large amount of pottery vessels from the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE) was discovered in the probe, including Late Roman Red bowls (Fig. 5:1–5) and jars (Fig. 5:6–8). The presence of another jar (Fig. 5:9) that dated to the eighth century CE suggests that the settlement at the site continued to exist after the Byzantine period. In addition, a few potsherds from the Early Bronze Age, apparently swept along with alluvium from elsewhere in the site, were found. Other finds in the probe were glass artifacts, including a piece of green opaque glass that seems to attest to the preparation of tesserae and a small glass inlay that is characteristic of burial assemblages from the Roman and Byzantine periods, as well as two fragments of vessels, one dating to the Late Roman period and the other to the Late Byzantine period.
A Seleucid coin that was minted in Tyre in the second century BCE (IAA 106528) was found north of W108 (L104). The coin is relatively earlier than the rest of the finds and apparently was brought over from another part of the site.
The well-built W108 was probably the wall of a building, although no floors associated with it were discerned. The ceramic and glass artifacts next to the wall date it to the sixth–seventh centuries CE. The potsherds from the Early Bronze Age and the Hellenistic coin were probably brought together with the alluvium from elsewhere on the site.