In September 2016, a trial excavation was conducted opposite the Segev Shalom industrial zone (Permit No. A-7787; map ref. 184961-5038/568595-872; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a neighborhood. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Bedouin Development and Settlement Authority in the Negev, was directed by M. Pasternak, with the assistance of G. Melnick, A. Rasiuk, A. Azoulay, O. Tamir and A. Levy Hevroni (area supervision and guidance), S. Talis, Y. Abadi-Reiss, G. Seriy, D. Varga and N. Michael (consultation), Y. Al-ʽAmor (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), N. Zak (drafting), I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing), J. Bukengolts (pottery restoration), C. Amit (studio photography), and laborers from Ashqelon, Qiryat Gat and Abu Kaf and students from the Erez Preparatory Program.
In 2003, a trial excavation was conducted along the entrance road to Segev Shalom, when remains of two walls built of wadi pebbles and limestone were found. The walls were dated based on pottery sherds from the late Byzantine period found at the site (Nikolsky 2007
Remains of several walls were exposed in trial trenches made prior to the current excavation. Subsequently, two excavation areas were opened where remains of a field tower dating to the late Byzantine period and wall remains were discovered.
Remains of a square field tower (2.4 × 2.4 m) built of unworked medium-large sized limestone, sandstone and chalk fieldstones reinforced with wadi pebbles were found (preserved height: W110—0.6 m, W104 and W105—1 m, W106—0.9 m; Figs. 2, 3). Remains of stone collapse from the western side of W110 (L124) were exposed north of the field tower. The entrance to the field tower was not identified; however, judging by the low height of the northern wall that was preserved as opposed to the rest of the walls in which there were no openings, the entrance was apparently located in this wall. The debris inside the building (L106) was excavated, revealing wall collapse running the entire length of the accumulation above the building’s tamped earth floor (L115; Fig. 4). Fragments of a flask dating to the Byzantine period were found on this floor (Fig. 5; Erickson-Gini, Dolinka and Shilov 2015
: Fig. 28:6).
A section of a wall standing to a height of one course was exposed (W203; length 9 m; Figs. 6, 7), probably a building foundation. It was built of unworked limestone and oriented southeast–northwest. Two jar rims dating to the Byzantine period were found alongside the wall (Fig. 8:1, 2).
The field tower was used to guard the nearby agricultural areas in the late Byzantine period. It joins other field towers, buildings and numerous farms that were excavated in the area and characterize the agricultural hinterland in the northern Negev from the Bronze Age until the Byzantine period.