During September 2002 a trial excavation was conducted on S.Y. Agnon Street, c. 400 m east of Tel Ashqelon (Permit No. A-3717*; map ref. NIG 1577/6191; OIG 1077/1191), following the exposure of antiquities while inspecting infrastructure work. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by Y. Atias, was directed by Y. Huster, assisted by H. Lavi (administration).
An area of c. 20 sq m was excavated. A natural sand layer (thickness c. 0.7 m) was removed by mechanical equipment, revealing a layer of reddish brown clayey hamra, which was partially of a light gray color due to the disintegration of bonding material of the same shade that probably derived from the collapse of an installation, apparently located outside the excavation area. Overlying and within the clayey layer at the northwestern end of the area were numerous fragments of flat ceramic tiles, to which remnants of bonding material were still tacked. Two of the tiles, attached by light gray bonding material, were found intact (20 × 20 cm, thickness 2 cm). The slightly trapezoidal tiles suggest they belonged to an arch of flat mud bricks (Fig. 1). A few potsherds from the Late Roman period were also found in the collapse. Nearby and to the north of the mud-brick collapse was an irregular-shaped pit, cut into the layer of clayey hamra and the natural kurkar layer below it. Several potsherds, dating to the Late Roman period and a jar fragment from Iron Age II were in found the pit.