During September 2009, a salvage excavation was conducted at the Nahal Dimona site, within a quarry of a lime factory (Permit No. A-5766; map ref. 21689–98/56245–8; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Negev Industrial Minerals Company, Ltd., was directed by O. Shmueli, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), N. Zak (drafting). Thanks are extended to the quarry’s geologist, Mr. H. Sa‘ar, and the factory workmen for their assistance during the excavation.
The Nahal Dimona site is located on the lower eastern slopes of the Dimona Ridge, c. 1.7 km southwest of the Nahal Hemar channel and the Nahal Hemar cave where finds ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period were discovered (‘Atiqot 18).
A partly preserved circular building (diam. 3 m; Figs. 2, 3), damaged by mechanical equipment, was exposed.
Two phases were identified in the building.
The First Phase: A wall (W1; preserved length 4 m, height 0.6 m), preserved two courses high, was built. The wall consisted of roughly hewn fieldstones in various sizes (0.3 × 0.3 × 0.4–0.3 × 0.6 × 0.6 m) whose narrow sides were placed on the limestone bedrock. The crushed-chalk floor of the building (L101) was laid on the bedrock and above it were fieldstones and several stone slabs (0.05 × 0.20 × 0.30 m), not in situ.
The Second Phase: A rectangular cell (L102; 0.4 × 0.8 m) was built in the northern part of the structure. Three sides of the cell, built of roughly hewn fieldstones (0.2 × 0.2 × 0.5 m) set in place on their narrow side, were exposed. The floor of the cell was soil that derived from eroded limestone and a few bone chips overlaid it.
Initially, the building probably served as a dwelling and later, when it was no longer in use, a burial cell was installed within it. Since the building was devoid of finds, neither it nor its use-phases could be dated.