During April 2002 a trial excavation was conducted in Kafr Jinnis (‘Mitham Paz’; Permit No. A-3622*; map ref. NIG 19122/65585; OIG 14122/15585; HA–ESI 113:65*–66*). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by the Paz Oil Corporation, was directed by Y. Zelinger, with the assistance of R. Abu-Khalaf (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting), E. Kamaisky (pottery restoration), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), M. Rappaport (pottery drawing), D. T. Ariel (numismatics) and Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass).
The excavation area is located east of Ben-Gurion airport, next to the Israel Aviation Industries’ compound. Ancient remains were discerned in several places while trial trenches were dug by mechanical equipment. Three and a half squares were opened to determine the depth, chronology and scope of the remains (Fig. 1). The findings indicated that a settlement existed at the site during the Early Islamic period; however, the limited excavation area precluded establishing the nature or size of the site.
Square A2. A wall (W502; width 0.7 m, preserved height 0.5 m; Fig. 2) that traversed the square in an east–west direction was exposed in the southern half of the square. The wall was composed of two rows of stones: the exterior northern side of the wall used large and square stones, whereas those of the interior southern face were small and bonded with cement. Some of the large stones were robbed for secondary use in antiquity or may have been removed by modern plowing. A pilaster (0.5 × 0.5 m) that might have been the base of an arch was next to the interior southern face of the wall. Several flat stones lying next to the pilaster may indicate the building’s floor, which could be ascertained due to the limited excavation area.
Based on the ceramic finds (Fig. 3:1, 6) the remains––probably part of a larger building––should be dated to the Early Islamic period (eighth–ninth centuries CE). North of the building was a refuse pit (L505), which contained a cooking pot (Fig. 3:3) from the ninth–eleventh centuries CE and a coin (IAA No. 107715) from the Late Roman period (383–395 CE). Another coin (IAA No. 107714), dating to the time of Valentinian II (383 CE), was a surface find.
Square E4. Only the northern half of the square was excavated. At a depth of 0.4 m, a layer of small stones bonded with white cement was exposed. A probe cut by mechanical equipment at the northern end of the square disturbed and severed this layer; however, a thin gray stratum marking the habitation level above this layer, was discerned in the section.
Square H2. A layer of stones (L504) that seems to be a floor’s bedding was detected throughout the entire square, except for the route of the trial trench that extended across its center. Numerous pottery fragments dating to the ninth–eleventh centuries CE (Fig. 3:4, 7) overlaid this stone layer. The excavation continued below this layer in the northeastern quarter of the square, reaching a depth of 1.2 m below surface (L509). The finds included fragmentary pottery vessels (Fig. 3:2, 5), an intact glass ring (IAA No. 2005-36; Fig. 3:8) and a Mamluk coin (fils; IAA No. 107716) from the fourteenth century CE.
Square P5. The square, located along the area’s southeastern boundary, contained numerous masonry stones and fragments of pottery and glass vessels, which were uncovered at a depth of 0.3 m. However, due to time constraints, it was impossible to determine whether any architectural remains were associated with these finds.