A square rock-cutting with three steps in its western side was discovered in the southern square (L6; 2 × 2 m; Figs. 2, 3). The rim of a cooking pot dating to the Herodian period was discovered in the fill above the rock-cutting.
A round shaft (L5; diam. 0.45 m; Figs. 2, 4) was discovered c. 2.5 m north of the rock-cutting. The shaft was excavated to a depth of 1 m, before suspension of work due to the determination that this was a tomb. The potsherds in the fill of the shaft included a rim and body fragments of jars dating to Middle Bronze IIB.
A square (L7; 1.2 × 1.2 m) was opened 3.7 m north of the shaft tomb and two parallel rock-cuttings were discovered, aligned north–south (length of western 2.25 m, length of eastern 1.3 m, distance between them c. 0.6 m). Perpendicular rock-cuttings (length of northern 0.45 m, length of southern 0.15 m) were at both ends of the eastern rock-cutting and another rock-cutting was at the end of the southern end (length 0.37 m). The step of the western rock-cutting extended north beyond the boundaries of the square; however, not being straight and probably not deliberately hewn, it was natural. A few body fragments of jars dating to Middle Bronze IIB and a body fragment of a cooking pot from the Second Temple period were found in the fill excavated in the square.
No signs of rock-cuttings were discerned, nor any potsherds discovered in the northern square (L8; 0.80 × 1.25 m).
Although the excavation was limited in scope and the exposure of the shaft tomb was not completed, it is very important, as its finds constitute the first evidence of a Bronze Age necropolis along the western slope of Tell el Ful. Based on its shape, it seems that the shaft tomb was hewn in the Intermediate Bronze Age and according to the ceramic finds, it continued to be used in Middle Bronze IIB, as did other burial fields discovered in the region of the central hill country (e.g., the Holy Land burial site in Jerusalem, Qadmoniot
141:22–25). Although only a single tomb was discovered, it should be viewed as one of many and it can be assumed that additional tombs of its kind exist in the vicinity, since most shaft tombs are concentrated in burial fields (Qadmoniot
141). It is probable that the round rock-cutting, discovered in a previous excavation, c. 7 m north of the shaft tomb (HA-ESI 121
; diam. 0.6 m, depth 0.67 m) was a shaft tomb, whose hewing was incomplete. In addition, it is reasonable to assume that other shaft tombs, not yet discovered, are found on the slope and other tombs were destroyed by later quarrying dating to the Iron Age and the Second Temple period, based on potsherds found on the surface.
A previous excavation on the western slope of Tell el Ful (HA-ESI 120
) revealed potsherds dating to the Middle Bronze Age, but since no architectural remains were exposed, it was concluded that the potsherds and the fill in which they were found had eroded from the top of the tell. In the wake of the finds from the current excavation, it is assumed that the source of these potsherds was not from the top of the tell, but rather from a cemetery of shaft tombs located on the slope.