During November 2011, a salvage excavation was conducted along the western fringes of the nucleus of Kabul, c. 100 m west of the Abu Bakr al-Tsadik mosque (Permit No. A-6339; map ref. 220128–58/752460–90), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by R. Abu Raya, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), A. Shapiro (surveying and GPS), Y. Bibas (field photography), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing) and E. Stern and W. Atrash (consultation).
A square (7×7 m) was opened and two sections of parallel walls (W1, W2; Figs. 2, 3) aligned north–south were exposed. All that remained of W1 was a single course of roughly hewn limestone with soil accumulations (L102), founded on accumulations of different color soil (L103). Wall 2 was built of fieldstones and roughly hewn stones directly on the bedrock (Fig. 4). A small segment of another wall (W3), which had been mostly destroyed when a modern pit (L100) was dug, adjoined W2 from the west. The potsherds recovered from the foundation of W1, L102, the accumulations beneath it (L103) and the those beneath W2 (L104) included fragments of vessels, mainly cooking pots (Fig. 5:1–2) and jars (Fig. 5:3–11) characteristic of the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries BCE), and similar to those discovered in Stratum 10 at Horbat ‘Uza (IAA Reports 41:142–148).
Part of a rock-hewn rectangular installation (L111; preserved dimensions 0.8×1.0 m, max. depth c. 0.2 m) was exposed between the two walls, above the bedrock. Accumulations of gray soil (L102, L105) that contained fragments of pottery vessels characteristic of the Persian, Hellenistic, Early Roman (first century CE), Byzantine, Umayyad and Mamluk periods were excavated in and above the installation.
Two small cavities (L109, L110) filled with soil and modern refuse were revealed in the bedrock, beneath the level of W2. They were coated with light gray impervious hydraulic plaster applied to a layer of lime-plaster lined with ribbed jar sherds from the Roman period (Fig. 6). The northern cavity (L109) was partly excavated (diam. c. 2 m, excavated depth c. 1.2 m) and it had an arched opening in the west (0.9×1.5 m; see Fig. 3, the lower left corner). The southern cavity was partially documented but not excavated.
Pottery from the Persian period and finds from the Hellenistic period were discovered for the first time in the excavation at Kabul, and this is evidence for the beginning of the settlement that reached its zenith in the Early Roman period.