During April–May 2003 a trial excavation was conducted in the recreation center of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot (Permit No. A-3894*; map ref. NIG 18269/64657; OIG 13269/14657), in the wake of construction work. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Bouchenino, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (photography), M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawing), I. Berin (drafting) and Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass).
Walls, apparently part of a building, were exposed.
A section of a wall (W10, length 3 m, width 0.6 m), oriented north–south, was exposed in the middle of the area. It was built of fieldstones without bonding material and preserved a single course high (height 0.19 m). Along the continuation of the wall to the north (W11) were scattered fieldstones that probably derived from a collapse. Two sections of walls, built of fieldstones without bonding material, were exposed to the west of W10. Wall 12 (length 2.9 m, width 0.6 m, average height 0.27 m) formed a corner with W10, and Wall 13 (length 1.8 m, width 0.3 m, average height 0.27 m) either abutted W12 or was cut by it. The area west and south of W13 had been damaged in the past during the installation of electrical and water infrastructures.
Another north–south oriented section of a wall (W20; length 1.85 m, width 0.6 m), whose construction was identical to that of W10, was exposed in the northeastern corner of the site. The wall was preserved two courses high (0.7 m). A floor (L205) of square beach rock, overlaying a bedding of natural hamra that was devoid of any datable finds, abutted on the southern side of W20. Fragments of ribbed jars (Fig. 2:9, 10) were found on the floor.
The finds from the excavation did not come from sealed loci and included mixed potsherds. Some were dated to the Hellenistic period (a bowl; Fig. 2:1), the Early Roman period (juglet; Fig. 2:2; lamp; Fig. 2:3) and the Late Roman period (cooking krater, Fig. 2:4; jars, Fig. 2:5, 6). Most of the finds were from the Byzantine period, including open cooking pots and lids (Fig. 2:7, 8), jars (Fig. 2:9, 10) and lamps (Fig. 2:11–14) and the Early Islamic period, including glazed bowls (Fig. 2:15, 16), a bowl (Fig. 2:17) and a flask (Fig. 2:18). A few non-diagnostic fragments of glass vessels were also found.
During an antiquities inspection that preceded the excavation a basalt crushing vessel (Fig. 2:19) was exposed.
Based on the ceramic finds, the site was dated from the Byzantine until the Early Islamic periods (HA-ESI 113:124*). The considerable destruction in and around the excavation area made it difficult to reconstruct the architectural remains.