The Examined Survey Sites
H1. Miqve Israel (map ref. 179535/659749). The Netter Cave was inspected; it is an ancient rock-hewn cave that was presumably enlarged for use as a dwelling at the time of the early Jewish settlement. Extremely worn potsherds, dating mostly to the Roman period, were scattered around the cave. A medium-sized potsherd scattering is located in an open area north of the cave.
H2. Bat Yam, Ha-Rav Levy Street (map ref. 176932/657862). A medium-sized scattering of kurkar stones and potsherds from the Byzantine period in a grove and hamra soil, possibly connected to the settlement remains from the Hellenistic, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (Department of Antiquities, Geographical List of the Record Files 1918–1948, prepared by the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums, Ministry of Education and Culture, Jerusalem, 1976, p. 81). J. Ory (IAA Archives, Volume 154, Report dated 20/4/1938) reported a scattering of potsherds from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods on the surface, c. 2 km west of the workers’ new settlement in Holon. This scattering is located c. 160 m north of the current survey finds. Y. Shapira excavated a rock-hewn burial cave, containing finds from the Persian period, nearby to the south, in the Ramat Ha-Nasi neighborhood of Bat Yam (Shapira Y. 1966. An Ancient Cave at Bat-Yam. IEJ 16:8–10). The site is recorded among the list of sites in Tel Aviv-Yafo (E. Ayalon and A. Stone 1987. Archeological Sites in Tel Aviv-Yafo and the Surrounding Area, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv:72, Site 143).
H3. Bat Yam, Byar el-Hilwe (map ref. 175158/657056). The site is north of Tel Yona, on a kurkar hill that stands out prominently above its surroundings near the Mediterranean coast. Several potsherds dating to the Byzantine period are scattered in the sand dunes on the southern slope of the hill. An old quarry is in the middle of the hill and on the edge of the quarry is another sherd scattering. A fragment of a hewn limestone installation is lying on the western slope; a straight rock-cutting and corner with plaster remains, which was probably part of a pool or some other installation connected to water. A report on file in the Israel Antiquities Authority archive (Bat Yam Mandatory Folder, Volume 25) describes the site of Byar el-Hilwe in this region, located south of Yafo on the seashore, in the direction of Tel Yona, where potsherds from the Late Roman and Byzantine periods and several coins were found. The head of a woman’s statue was found inside a circle of black stones at the site or nearby (Rishon Le-Ziyyon Sand Dunes Folder, letter and drawing by Pinhas Nasich, 12/4/1964); the artifact was sent to the Department of Antiquities.
H4. Rishon Le-Ziyyon Sand Dunes
(map ref. 175514/654371). Settlement remains (140 x 160 m) were noted on a gentle hamra
hill between sand dunes, southeast of Tel Yona, c. 70 m east of a large hamra
hill (cut with large sections today). Numerous stones, worked circular stones, kurkar
stones and limestone that may be the remains of walls that protruded above surface in the area were found. In addition, sherd scatterings from Middle Bronze IIA, Iron Age II?, and the Hellenistic (most of the finds), Roman and Byzantine periods were documented. Flint tools, including a sickle blade were found nearby (map ref. 175471/654445; HA-ESI 122
H5. Holon (map ref. 177390/654906). A sherd scattering of medium density at the edge of a park, just east of Highway 20, is probably not in situ, including large fragments of a jar and a juglet from the Iron Age–Persian period (identified by Y. Dagan). Several small sherds from the Early Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age II, flint tools and animal bones, including a pig’s jaw (identified by N. Aga), were also documented.
Remains of a small settlement had been documented nearby in the past, next to Triangulation Point C-513, which is probably a fortress from Middle Bronze Age II and the Late Bronze Age (letter of Menashe Busheri, 16/10/1967. IAA Archives, Holon Folder, see also Site A5). The region is built up today. A concentration of potsherds west and south of the triangulation point was noted. Neither the original size of the settlement nor the precise location of the buildings is known.
H6. Rishon Le-Ziyyon (map ref. 178533/654726).Settlement remains (?) in hamra outcrops, between sand dunes; a very dense scattering of potsherds, ranging in date from the Hellenistic until the Byzantine periods, perhaps also from the Early Islamic period (Fig. 2) and kurkar stones, some of which bear remains of plaster. The site was probably destroyed when the adjacent street was paved or the shopping center to the south was built. A sherd scattering (map ref. 17900/65510) from the Hellenistic period, on a hamra hill that protruded from the sand dunes, had been reported in the past, c. 300 m northeast of the site (IAA Archive, letter from Menashe Busheri, dated 13/4/1966). A grove, without any remains, is located there today.
H7. Gan Soreq (map ref. 177318/650860). A site in the region north of Gan Soreq was discovered; it was damaged by a trench created when hamra was dug. A thick layer of large rectangular mud bricks, some of which are fired, is discernible (Figs. 3, 4). A complete jug from Middle Bronze IIA was found among the mud bricks; half of it remained in the section and its base was lying on the ground. Other sherds from the Middle Bronze Age and several flint artifacts were scattered on the surface. A large settlement was probably in this region, to which the Middle Bronze Age cemeteries, discovered and excavated c. 2.8 km to the north in the Rishon Le-Ziyyon sand dunes, may have belonged (HA-ESI 112:123*; Levy Y. 2005, The Middle Bronze Age I–II Cemeteries in the Rishon Le-Ziyyon Sand Dunes. In M. Fisher, ed. Yavne, Yavne-Yam and their Surroundings. Tel Aviv. Pp. 59–68).The site is currently being excavated (Permit No. A-5968). The size of the settlement is indicated by the potsherds of the period that are scattered around, as far as the other side of the highway.
Hewn tombs dating to the Middle Bronze Age had been discovered in the past north of the site and were covered over (U. ‘Ad, per. comm.).
Sites that are documented in the archive, but no longer exist
A1. Bat Yam, Ramat Ha-Nasi (map ref. 17630/65754). Presumed location of Middle Bronze I burial caves that were found in the western part of the Ramat Ha-Nasi neighborhood in Bat Yam (according to a report by Y. Shapira, IAA Archive, Bat Yam Folder).
A2. Holon (map ref. 179200/657600). Remains of a farmstead from the Hellenistic period. Coins were found (letter from Y. Shapira, Holot Rishon Le-Ziyyon Folder, IAA Archive). The region is built up today.
A3. Rishon Le-Ziyyon (West) (map ref. 17630/65640). The eastern part of a Middle Bronze IIA tomb, oriented east–west. The tomb was dug into the hamra and may have been lined with several mud bricks, whose remains were found inside. The surviving part of the tomb contained a skull in a very friable state and three vessels, a large goblet, which survived by part of its side, a complete bowl with knobs around its circumference and a complete goblet. The vessels were photographed in situ. A section of another mostly destroyed tomb was discovered some 10 m north of the tomb. E. Ayalon examined the site with Y. Shapira and described it in detail (letter dated 30/9/1981, Holot Rishon Le-Ziyyon Folder, IAA Archive; HA 78-79:50 [Hebrew]). The site is located c. 300 m southwest of the settlement site from Middle Bronze IIA and the Persian period (HA 34-35:23–24 [Hebrew]; Gophna, R. and Beck, P. 1981. The Rural Aspect of the Settlement Pattern of the Coastal Plain in the Middle Bronze Age II. Tel Aviv 8:53–58, Site 7, Figs. 7–9).
A4. Holon (map ref. 17772/65641). A site dating to the Early Bronze Age, which was destroyed as a result of development activity, was documented (Fig. 5). The archival report (Holon Folder) reads: “several dozen meters east of the regional cemetery in the south of Holon, on a slight hamra outcrop in an area covering several dunams inside the sand dunes. Kurkar stones and potsherds; no clear signs of architecture. Small sections of kurkar-built walls. Pits filled with sherds, probably dwelling pits. The site continues toward the east. The site is situated on a low flat hill. The remains were discovered in a layer of very dark heavy hamra soil beneath the sand in the southeast that is different than the light soil on the western side. Remains of mud brick construction and a few potsherds were here; the main part of the settlement was probably here. It is doubtful if anything is left of this site” [Hebrew].
Several extremely worn potsherds from a period later than the Early Bronze Age were found in the current survey on a kurkar hill between the sand dunes, in a very disturbed area; remains of this site may still exist below the sand dune at the depth of the hamra.
A5. Holon (map ref. 17783/65516). A Middle Bronze II–Late Bronze I Site, located 200 m north of Triangulation Point C-513. Building lines of kurkar and mud bricks were discerned at the site (IAA Archive, Holon Folder, letter from Menashe Busheri dated 16/10/1967). The region is built-up today and no signs of the site are left.
A6. Rishon Le-Ziyyon Sand Dunes (map ref. 1787/6545). According to R. Gophna, a site from the Late Bronze Age exists on a gentle hill near the Rishon Le-Ziyyon road, in the direction of the sea (IAA Archive, photograph with map references and a brief description).
The amount and density of Middle Bronze IIA sites that appear on the map is particularly striking. The most important of these is the Middle Bronze IIA settlement in the region of Gan Soreq (H7), which was probably large. To date, all the knowledge of the period is derived from tombs and a cemetery, with no settlement nearby (Levy 2005:59–68); a rural settlement in Bat Yam (Gophna and Beck 1981); the site reported in the archive (A5), and potsherd scatterings discovered in a development survey (HA-ESI 110:87*, Rubin Forest), which are not connected to architectural remains. All these indicate that the region was intensively occupied in this period. The results of the excavation currently underway will aid in ascertaining the scope of the settlement.
The sites from the later periods are located near and along the coast; the important ones being Tel Yona in the north and Tel Ya‘oz in the south.
The settlement picture will remain incomplete until the survey is concluded, especially in the region around Tel Ya‘oz, which was excavated and studied by numerous scholars (HA-ESI 112: 72*; ‘Atiqot 52: 1*–24*), but no systematic survey was performed in its vicinity.