During September 2005, a trial excavation was conducted within the precincts of the Khallat Abu Halah site (Permit No. A-4593*; map ref. NIG 20470–80/72145–60; OIG 15470–80/22145–60), prior to paving the Cross-Israel Highway. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by K. Sari and P. Spivak, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), A. Dagot (GPS surveying), O. Marder, E. Yannai and M. Masarwa.
The excavation area, south of Qibbuz Ramot Menashe, was located on a moderate slope c. 20 m east of Tel Khallat Abu H
alah North (Fig. 1). A trial excavation (Permit No. A-321) that was conducted in 1971 exposed the remains of a stratified settlement that dated to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods and the Middle Bronze Age.
Ten squares were opened and two additional squares (2 × 2 m) were excavated next to Tell Khallat Abu Halah North, for the purpose of locating the boundaries of the site. All of the squares were excavated down to bedrock (depth 0.2–0.6 m below surface).
The fragmentary remains of two farming walls, which could not be dated due to their poor state of preservation and the absence of any in situ finds, were found. A habitation level, which yielded potsherds that dated to Middle Bronze I and aided in defining the eastern boundary of the site, was exposed only in the two squares next to the tell.
A wall (W25) built of fieldstones and preserved two courses high was documented in the northern area of the excavation. The wall, oriented east–west (exposed length 17 m, width 1.5 m), was constructed near and parallel to a natural bedrock terrace, crossing six of the excavation squares (A1, D1, E1, F1, G1, H1; Fig. 2). It was severed by mechanical equipment in Squares E1 and F1 during the course of modern activity. The small finds in this area included flint implements from several periods, which were mixed with potsherds from the Roman period that had probably been swept there.
A layer of leveled fieldstones, between which were in situ potsherds dating to Middle Bronze I, was exposed in Square AB2. This was the only habitation layer in the excavation area that contained vessels in situ and it indicated the eastern boundary of the site.
The small finds, including the potsherds, were worn.
One can assume that W25 served as a farming terrace wall. In the absence of any in situ finds it was impossible to date the terrace and determine the period of its use. The main contribution of the excavation lays in the clearly determined the eastern boundary of Tell Khallat Abu Halah North.