During September–November 1998 an excavation was conducted at Khirbat er-Rujm on the Sharon Plain (Permit No. A-2924*; map ref. NIG 2037–45/6982–7; OIG 1537–45/1982–7). The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and funded by the Electric Company, was directed by Y. Lehrer, with the assistance of K. Tibi, S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), I. Vatkin and V. Essman (surveying), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology), V. Shorr (drafting), T. Sagiv (studio photography), E. Altmark (metallurgical laboratory), R. Kletter (identification of figurines), M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawing) and E. Yannai.
The excavation area that consisted of a single square was located east of the Baqa al-Gharibiya–Tulkarm road, c. 300 m east of the previously conducted excavation at the site (ESI 18:49). Building remains, dating to the Persian period (Stratum 1) and Middle Bronze IIA (Stratum 2) were exposed.
Sections of two walls (W1, W2) were exposed in Stratum 1 (Fig. 1). Wall 1 (preserved length c. 3 m, width 0.6 m), oriented north–south and preserved a single course high, was built of small fieldstones. Wall 2, oriented east–west and preserved a single course high, was built of medium-sized fieldstones. Several artifacts were discovered at the level of the walls, including the head of a clay figurine (Fig. 2), a fragment of an imported Cypriot vessel (Fig. 3:3), a bronze arrowhead (Fig. 4) and a bronze fibula (Fig. 5), all dating to the Persian period.
Sections of three walls (W3–W5) that probably formed part of a building were exposed in Stratum 2 (Fig. 6). The walls, preserved three courses high, were built of small and medium fieldstones. An infant burial was discovered west of W5, below the level of the walls. The burial jar, surrounded with fieldstones, was interred below the building’s floor level and contained the bones of an infant, who died close to the time of birth or shortly thereafter, according to the anthropological examination. A ceramic juglet (Fig. 3:2) was placed near the burial jar (Fig. 3:1) and both are dated to Middle Bronze IIA.