During April 2006, a trial excavation was conducted at the site of Biq’at Yaval (Permit No. A-4773*; map ref. NIG 18941–8/59121–7; OIG 13941–8/09121–7), prior to the construction of the separation fence. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Israel Antiquties Authority and funded by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by V. Nikolsky-Carmel, with the assistance of H. Lavi (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), N. Paran (photography) and F. Sonntag.
Remains of an animal pen and a water cistern that dated to the Byzantine period were exposed in the excavation. Five probe trenches were dug along the animal pen (length c. 35 m; Figs. 1, 2), preserved a single course high and built of limestone, which yielded potsherds from the Byzantine period. Similar animal pens were used for agricultural activities from the Byzantine period until the modern era. A bell-shaped water cistern (depth c. 4 m; Figs. 3, 4) was located west of the animal pen. It seems that the animal pen and the water cistern were part of a Byzantine-period settlement, located on a hill west of the water cistern, which was never excavated. The water cistern apparently continued to be used by local shepherds for many years.