Area A
The farmhouse remains included three main construction phases (VI–IV; Fig. 3), all dating to the Early Islamic period. Three additional phases (III–I) were noted from the period following the building’s abandonment. The phases are described below from earliest to latest.
Phase VI. In the earliest phase, a rectangular building consisting of three rooms (1–3) arranged in a row was constructed, adjacent to an extensive courtyard and several other walls. The walls of the building were constructed of mud-bricks or poured mud and the foundations were made of wadi pebbles. The openings of the rooms were fixed in their northern walls, bordering the courtyard. The rooms’ floors were made of tamped earth and were lower than the thresholds. Voussoirs that had collapsed on the floor of Room 1 were exposed (Fig. 4); apparently, the arch hinted at by the fallen voussoirs supported the room’s ceiling. Stone basins and grinding and pounding tools were also found on the floor of Room 1. Most of the courtyard was not excavated but its floor also seems to have been made of tamped earth. Three walls discovered north of the courtyard were ascribed to this phase because their foundations were c. 0.30–0.36 m deeper than those of the walls of Phase V and because they did not conform to the plan of the building from Phases V and IV.
Phase V. During this phase, rooms (4–29) that delimited the courtyard on all sides were added to the early phase of the building. Their walls were built of medium and large-sized wadi pebbles and dressed stones in secondary use, probably taken from nearby Be’er Shevaʽ; the dressed stones were incorporated into the upper courses of the walls. An entrance court and an opening were protected between two rooms on the eastern side of the farmhouse. The doorway led straight into the courtyard. In some of the roomswere tabuns and hearths, used for cooking and baking. Three silos were exposed in Rooms 24 and 25.
Phase IV. Apparently, only minor changes were implemented to the building during this phase. Architectural elements and dressed stones were installed in secondary use in Room 11 (Fig. 5). The architectural elements included column drums, some of which were converted into crushing vessels or stone basins. The walls were dismantled in the northeastern corner of Room 3 and a new curved wall was built, but not completed. The farmhouse was apparently abandoned in an orderly fashion at the end of this phase: the building’s openings were sealed and the pottery vessels were collected; three blocked openings were discovered in Room 11.
In Phases IV–VI, a more-or-less homogenous pottery repertoire was discovered in the farmhouse. The assemblage included Khirbat Mafjar ware and serving vessels whose exterior was decorated with red, white and black paint characteristic of the eighth–ninth centuries CE.
Phase III. There was no further permanent habitation at the site after its abandonment in Phase IV. The southern wall of Room 13a was destroyed and a tabun was built. Thick layers of ash in the room indicate the temporary nature of settlement during this phase.
Phase II. East of Room 20 was a pit grave dug in an east–west direction containing the remains of a single adult male. The head of the deceased was placed at the western end of the grave and faced south, in accordance with Muslim funeral tradition. A row of wadi pebbles and medium-sized fieldstones was placed at the northern and western sides, on the bottom of the grave. The surface above the grave was marked with a row of dressed stones, probably taken from the building.
Phase I. In recent years, nomads have used the site as a seasonal encampment, and thus the surface was covered with a thick layer of dung and ashes.
Area B
The foundations of a single two-room structure were exposed (Fig. 6). A few non-diagnostic pottery sherds were discovered in the excavation of the building. The construction style may indicate a date in the Byzantine period.
The excavation exposed a farm dating to the Early Islamic period that included three main construction phases (VI–IV). The farmhouse was abandoned in an orderly manner at the end of Phase IV and the building was closed; the residents may have planned to return later. However, the site was not permanently re-inhabited, and in the later phases (III–I) the building served as a temporary dwelling and included a single burial.