A salvage excavation was conducted in March 2000 at the intersection of Mivza‘ Dani and Mivza‘ ‘Uvda streets in Yavne (A- 3213*; map ref. NIG 1756/6411; OIG 1256/1411), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by N. Velednizki, assisted by R. Graff (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (photography) and M. Rappaport (drawing).
Two half squares were excavated 5 m apart, c. 100 m northeast of Tel Yavne. A refuse pit and a pottery kiln from the Byzantine period were discovered. The location of the kiln with regard to the tell was intended to prevent the exposure of the residents to an ecological hazard, indicating a considerate and planned construction.
The refuse pit (depth 0.4 m) was c. 0.8 m below surface in the eastern square. It contained a large quantity of potsherds from the Byzantine period, including mostly bag-shaped jars (Fig. 1:4) and Gaza jars (Fig. 1:9), as well as numerous fragments of animal bones. Sterile soil, devoid of finds, was below the pit. A burnt layer (thickness 0.2 m) was discerned in the square’s southeastern balk, c. 0.8 m below surface.
The continuation of the refuse pit was detected in the western square. Below it, c. 2 m below surface was the bottom part of a pottery kiln (1.7 × 2.3 m; Fig. 2). The southern part of the kiln was excavated (depth c. 0.9 m), but the bottom of the kiln was not exposed owing to lack of time. The kiln’s inner wall was constructed from small and medium-sized fieldstones, superposed with five courses of flat mud bricks (thickness 0.15 m). The kiln’s outer wall was built of large mud bricks (0.5 × 0.7 m). Inside the kiln were two parallel partitions built of a mud-brick row; they were meant to support the floor that separated the bottom combustion chamber from the top chamber that contained the vessels. The floor was built of mud bricks and a small portion of it was preserved in the eastern part of the kiln. In the preserved portion was an opening, apparently one of several that intended to circulate the hot air upward. An ash concentration and burnt traces were observed in the western part of the kiln, indicating that this was the spot where the fuel was inserted into the combustion chamber. Ceramic finds recovered from inside and around the kiln included jars (Fig. 1:5, 6, 10, 11) and a cooking vessel (Fig. 1:3), dating to the Byzantine period; they predated the vessels from the refuse pit. The soil into which the pottery kiln was inserted contained mixed potsherds from the Iron Age, Persian, Hellenistic (kraters; Fig. 1:1, 2) and Byzantine periods (jars; Fig. 1:7, 8).