During September 2006, a trial excavation was conducted in Nahal Refa’im (Permit No. A-4904*; map ref. NIG 21472/62782, OIG 16472/12782), prior to the preparation of a hikers’ route below the railroad track. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Nagar, with the assistance of R. Abu-Halaf (administration), T. Kornfeld (surveying), T. Sagiv (photography), I. Berin (final plans) and H. Khalaily (flint implements).
The excavation was undertaken along the slope of a hill next to the western side of the Nahal Refa’im stream channel (Figs. 1, 2). The single opened square revealed the remains of a building that dated to the Chalcolithic period (Fig. 3).
Two walls (W1, W2), a level of fieldstones (L103) and a bedrock floor (L105; Figs. 4, 5) were excavated. Wall 1 (length 3.5 m), oriented east–west, was built of different-sized fieldstones and preserved three courses high (c. 0.5 m). Wall 2 (length 1.7 m, width 0.7 m), which abutted W1 on the south, was built of two rows of small to medium-sized fieldstones and preserved two courses high (0.35 m). The fieldstone level (L103) abutted W2 on the east. Each of the walls was built on top of a hewn bedrock step (northern—width 1.65 m, height 1.15; eastern—width 1.7 m, height 7–30 cm). The hewn steps enclosed the flat and leveled bedrock Floor 105 (2.25 × 2.25 m), which continued beyond the limits of the excavation.
The finds recovered from the excavation included potsherds from the Chalcolithic period (fifth–fourth millennia BCE), a few potsherds from the end of the Byzantine period, as well as a basalt vessel and flint implements from the Chalcolithic period. The preservation of the flint items, which included sickle blades, bladelet cores and many flakes, indicates that they were apparently found in situ or brought to the site from nearby (10–15 m), further up the slope. Near the northeastern corner of the excavation, a cluster of eight–ten white industrial tesserae was discovered, possibly indicating the presence of nearby remains that were later than the Chalcolithic period.