During December 2002 a salvage excavation was conducted at the site of Dhahrat et-Tuta in the tenth precinct of Ashdod (Permit No. A-3587*; map ref. NIG 16750/63293; OIG 11750/13293). The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ashdod Municipal Development Corporation, was directed by P. Nachshoni and D. Varga, with the assistance of H. Lavi (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting) and I. Pikovsky (pottery drawing).
The excavation at the site, on a sand dune c. 100 m west of the large dune, which is c. 3 km east of the shoreline, was undertaken in two areas: Area A, on the eastern slopes of the sand dune and Area B, on top of the dune. Remains dating to the Early Islamic period were discovered in both areas.
Area A. The single square opened in this area revealed a rectangular structure, oriented northeast–southwest (4.20 × 4.55 m; Figs. 1, 2). Its walls (width c. 0.5 m), preserved six courses high (0.65 m), were built of kurkar stones, some of which were dressed. The entrance to the building (width 0.6 m; Fig. 3) was set in the northeastern wall. The structure’s interior was partitioned by a wall (W8) built of a single row of stones, which was probably erected during a later phase. Remains of a kurkar-slab pavement were discovered north and northwest of the building. The potsherds found in the structure included a bowl (Fig. 4:3), a krater (Fig. 4:19), a lid (Fig. 4:7) and cooking pots (Fig. 4: 9, 10, 12), dating to the Early Islamic period (tenth–eleventh centuries CE).
Area B. Meager remains of a previously destroyed building (Fig. 5), which consisted of two sections of walls, a segment of a pavement, collapse and concentrations of ash, were uncovered. The pottery vessels that mostly dated to the Early Islamic period included bowls (Fig. 4:5, 6), a cooking pot (Fig. 4:11), jugs (Fig. 4:14, 15) and a krater (Fig. 4:18). The Middle Ages ceramics consisted of bowls (Fig. 4:1, 2, 4, 8), a cooking pot (Fig. 4:13) and a juglet (Fig. 4:16). Pottery fragments, ranging from the Chalcolithic (Fig. 4:17) until the Ottoman periods, were also discovered.