During August, September and November 2002, a salvage excavation was conducted c. 500 m west of Tell Qasile (Permit No. A-3723*; map ref. NIG 19037–9/66765–9; OIG 13037–9/16765–9), prior to construction work. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Glick, with the assistance of R. Abu Halaf (administration), D. Porotzky (surveying), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (drawing) and E. Yannai and R. Kletter (scientific advice).
The excavation was conducted in a flat area of brown-black soil that covers the kurkar bedrock. The area was severely damaged in the modern era when a hotel was constructed. Previous excavations had been conducted nearby (HA-ESI 111:35*–37*; ‘Atiqot 38:25*–32* [Hebrew]; License Nos. B-210/2000, B-257/2002), revealing settlement remains, industrial installations, a well and tombs, dating from Middle Bronze II until the Hellenistic period. The current excavation included five areas where two pit graves, an installation and quarries were discovered (Fig. 1).
Pit graves. The northern part of a rectangular rock-cutting that was probably a pit grave (L201; 1 × 1 m, depth 0.47 m) was discovered in the south of the area. No artifacts were found, other than a non-diagnostic fragment of a worn bowl (Fig. 2:2). The remains of another hewn pit grave that had been severely damaged (L102; presumed dimensions: length c. 2 m, width at least 1 m) were exposed in the northern part of the area. The pit contained a few small non-diagnostic potsherds, but the outline of the grave was identical to Middle Bronze II tombs that were excavated nearby (HA-ESI 111).
Installation. A rectangular installation hewn in the kurkar bedrock was uncovered in the southern part of the area (L100, L203; c. 2.5 × 6.5 m, depth 0.9 m). Three usage phases were discerned. A small, shallow rectangular installation (c. 2.5 × 4.0 m, max. depth 0.65 m) was meticulously hewn in the first phase. In the second phase, the installation was a quarry for kurkar masonry stones and the coarse rock-cutting enlarged the installation to the east. When the quarry was abandoned, the depression filled with soil (depth 0.10–0.15 m). In the third phase, the installation was used for storing a white material that may have been lime. This final phase is dated to the modern era, the sixteenth–twentieth centuries CE, based on the recovered potsherds that included gray Gaza ware jars (Fig. 2:7, 8).
Quarries. A quarry (L101, L202) that extended across 9 m (max. depth 2.3 m; width could not be ascertained) was exposed in the eastern part of the area. Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Ottoman period were discovered in the fill within the quarry, including bowls (Fig. 2:1, 3, 4), jugs (Fig. 2:5, 6) and non-diagnostic potsherds from earlier periods. A bronze fragment that may have been part of a fibula was also found. A section of another quarry (L204) whose dimensions were not ascertained (depth c. 1.3 m) was noted in the western part of the area. This quarry was devoid of datable artifacts, except for an almost completely quarried stone (c. 0.6 × 1.8 m).