In December 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted west of Horbat Patot, in the Shelly industrial zone in Qiryat Gat (Permit No. A-6965; map ref. 17899–901/61113–6; Fig. 1), prior to the replacement of an electricity cable. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Electric Corporation Ltd., was directed by D. Yegorov (photography), with the assistance of S. Ganor and Y. Lender (consultation), Y. Al-‘Amor (administration), M. Kunin and A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), S. Gal and E. Aladjem (GPS), N. Zak (plans), G. Seriy (ceramics) and I. Lidski-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
An excavation square was opened along the fringes of Horbat Patot, c. 400 m west of the remains of the Bedouin village of Khirbat Fattata. It yielded remains of a rural settlement dating from the Early Islamic period were exposed, comprising two construction phases (III, II; Figs. 2–4) and a surface layer (I). In 2000, two trial excavations (License No. G-209/2000) were conducted nearby, yielding the remains of a rural settlement dating from the Late Byzantine period (fifth–seventh centuries CE) to the Early Islamic period (eighth–tenth centuries CE).
Stratum III. Two parallel, east–west walls (W12, W13) belonging to a building founded on bedrock were discovered. Wall 13 (length 1 m, width 0.6 m) was built of dry construction utilizing well-dressed chalk stones (0.20 × 0.25 × 0.35 m) and small fieldstones; it was preserved to a height of two courses (0.45 m). Wall 12 was mostly destroyed (length 1.1 m, width 0.25 m, preserved height 0.32 m); however, it was apparently built in the same method as W13. Wall 12 was abutted from the south by a floor made of a thin layer of plaster that was set on a compact layer of hamra (L105; thickness 0.1 m), which was in turn laid on bedrock. The plaster layer probably served as a foundation for a mosaic pavement that was not preserved, although several ex-situ tesserae did survive. Shallow bowls of various sizes (Fig. 5:1–3), deep bowls, some of which are green-glazed (Fig. 5:4, 5), a krater (Fig. 5:6), a strainer jug (Fig. 5:7) and a stopper (Fig. 5:8) were found on the floor. The finds are dated to the Early Islamic period.
Stratum II. A wall (W11; length 1.2 m, width 0.6 m) aligned in a general north–south direction was exposed. It was built of large limestone blocks and preserved to a height of two courses (0.2 m). The northern end of the wall was adjoined by sections of two perpendicular walls: W10 running eastward (length c. 1 m, width 0.5 m, preserved height 0.2 m) and W14 running westward (length 0.6 m, width 0.35 m, preserved height 0.2 m). The three walls delimited two rooms that belong to a building which extends beyond the limits of the excavation. The bedding of the structure’s floor—a layer of crushed chalk on a layer of limestone slabs set on compact hamra (L103, L104, L107, L109)—was discovered in both rooms and to their north, where it was unevenly preserved due to a disturbance in the center of the square. Numerous fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Early Islamic period were discovered on the floors of the rooms, including yellow-glazed bowls (Fig. 6:1), deep bowls (Fig. 6:2), kraters (Fig. 6:3, 4) and cooking pots (Fig. 6:5–7).
Stratum I consisted of a layer (thickness c. 0.4 m) of compact hamra topsoil devoid of any ancient artifacts. This layer was disturbed in the western and center parts of the square.