During April and June 2001 a salvage excavation was conducted west of Tell Qasile on the grounds of the Eretz Israel Museum (Permit No. A-3408*; map ref. NIG 18065–70/66763–7; OIG 13065–70/16763–7), following the discovery of remains during the course of development work. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and the Eretz Israel Museum, was directed by E. Ayalon, with the assistance of Z. Eisenstark, L. Fedrol-Kavitkovsky (photography), R. Mishayev (drafting, drawing of finds), R. Badhi and E. Ayash.
The remains were discovered in two adjacent locations.
The first location consisted of a circular pit, hewn in kurkar bedrock, which widened toward the bottom (diam. 0.9 m, depth 0.55 m; Fig. 1). It contained pottery vessels from the eleventh–tenth centuries BCE (Fig. 2), including a complete bowl decorated with knobs below the rim (Fig. 3:1), as well as a beach-rock grindstone and fragments of mud bricks. Another pit (diam. 0.75 m), which was preserved to a depth of 5 cm only and contained fragments of two red-slipped bowls (Fig. 3:2, 3), was discovered c. 1 m east of the first pit.
The walls of a large pit (1.55 × 1.90 m, preserved depth1.15 m) were discerned in the section of an old trench in the second location. The upper and middle parts of the pit, hewn in kurkar bedrock, had been destroyed in the past. The pit contained fragments of pottery vessels from the eleventh–tenth centuries BCE, including bowls (Fig. 3:4, 5), a cooking pot (Fig. 3:6), jars (Fig. 3:7, 8), jugs (Fig. 3:9–11) and a juglet (Fig. 3:12), as well as a few additional ceramic pbjects, such as a very thick basin rim (Fig. 3:13), a loom weight (Fig. 3:14) and a fragment of a conical plug cork, possibly from a potter’s kiln.
The pits had probably been originally used for storage and once they were abandoned, most of the artifacts recovered from them had apparently been discarded inside. The artifacts imply the existence of potter’s kilns in the vicinity.