During February–March 2001 a trial excavation was conducted at Horbat Meshullam (Permit No. A-3384*; map ref. NIG 17135/63385; OIG 12135/13385), following the discovery of ancient remains while overseeing the digging of a channel for a sewage line. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Yahal Engineering Company, was directed by T. Kanias, assisted by H. Lavi (administration), A. Hajian (surveying) and T. Sagiv (photography).
Two excavation squares were opened where ancient remains emerged in the channel (width 6 m, depth 1.5 m). A section of a surface (2.5 × 7.0 m), paved with dressed lime stones (average size of stones 0.2 × 0.4 m) and wadi pebbles, which were placed directly atop the alluvial soil that is characteristic of the region, was discovered (Fig. 1). The surface, which had probably been leveled in the past, sloped slightly southward. Numerous fragments of pottery vessels, dating to the Late Roman period, were discovered between the paving stones, including bowls (Fig. 2:1–2), a plate (Fig. 2:3) and a jug (Fig. 2:5), as well as a Byzantine krater (Fig. 2:4). It seems that the surface was used for either an agricultural or industrial purpose and after its abandonment in the Byzantine period it was covered with a layer of clayey soil (thickness 1.5 m). A similar stone surface was discovered by E. Yannai in his excavation at Tel Shevah (ESI *). A row of stones that probably belonged to an agricultural installation was uncovered c. 0.5 m west of the stone surface.