During January 2003 a salvage excavation was conducted along Highway 9, at the foot of the Qasr el-Bustân site (Permit No.
*A-3813; map ref. NIG 21800/63445; OIG 16800/13445), after a water cistern was discovered during the course of an antiquities inspection. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by the Moriya Company, was directed by A. Eirikh-Rose, assisted by T. Kornfeld (surveying and drafting).
A water cistern and nearby meager building remains were exposed (Fig. 1). The bell-shaped cistern (diam. 5.5 m, depth c. 4.4 m to level of partial collapse of cistern’s ceiling), which had a circular, rather small opening (diam. c. 0.7 m), was hewn in soft chalk bedrock and coated with a thick layer of hydraulic plaster (4 cm) mixed with organic material that was preserved on the opening and the ceiling. To the northeast of the cistern, a plastered, rock-hewn channel and a natural fissure to its south conveyed surface runoff to the cistern. On either side of the smoothly quarried bedrock surface (in the west and east), two courses of a fieldstone-built wall were found. No datable finds were discovered.