During May–June 2010, a community excavation was conducted at the Yuvalim antiquities site, c. 50 m southwest of the Yuvalim communal settlement in the Western Galilee (Permit No. A-5926; map ref. 225170–82/753655–67), within the framework of the settlement’s bar-mitzvah project. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Yuvalim settlement, was directed by R. Abu Raya, with the assistance of A. Houri (educational activity), Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), M. Kahan and R. Mishayev (surveying), N. Getzov (flint tool identification), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing) and D. Syon (numismatics).
The site, situated at the top of a spur that looks out on the Mediterranean Sea, is a large trapezoid compound (c. 20 × 30 m; Fig. 1), aligned east–west axis and enclosed within broad walls. The compound’s massive corners, visible on the surface, are built of boulders (max. dimensions c. 0.7 × 0.8 × 1.4 m). Most of the area inside the compound is exposed bedrock, which is partly covered with a shallow layer of terra rossa soil.
A rectangular area (5 × 9 m) was opened in the southern corner of the compound and a small room (2.7 × 3.3 m; Figs. 2, 3) was exposed. The walls of the room (W1–W4) were founded on bedrock. They were built of various size fieldstones, combined—primarily in the corners—with partly hewn stones that were especially large, and were preserved three courses high. Walls 1 and 2 (width 0.8 m), built of two rows of stones, were securely bonded to each other by means of large cornerstones. An opening (width c. 0.7 m; Fig. 4) was set at the southern end of W1; the southern doorjamb of the opening was an ashlar, set in place on its short side (height c. 0.8 m). The southeastern corner of the room, formed by Walls 3 and 4, and most of the length of W4 were abutted by a farming terrace retaining wall that thickened the walls by c. 1.5 m. Short segments of W4’s western continuation and the northern continuation of W3, which delimited the structure, were exposed.
Intentional fill composed of different size fieldstones mixed with terra rossa soil was found inside the room and outside, in the area of the compound. The fill in the room (L502) yielded several fragments of pottery vessels, among them three rims of a cooking pot (Fig. 5:1) and a jar (Fig. 5:2), characteristic of the Hellenistic period (third–first centuries BCE), and of a jar (Fig. 5:5), dating to the Early Roman period (mid-first century BCE–first century CE). The fill next to Wall 2 (L504) contained two Kefar Hananya Type 4A cooking-pot rims (Fig. 5:3, 4) that dated to the Early Roman period (mid-first century BCE–mid-first century CE).
Shallow accumulations of terra rossa soil mixed with fieldstones (L500, L503) that covered the bedrock were excavated west of the building. These accumulations yielded a clay pipe, a bracelet and two perforated Ottoman coins dating to the late nineteenth century CE, which were used as pendants in a piece of jewelry.
A single-period compound was exposed in the excavation, the first ever conducted at the site. It was probably a fortified farm or road fortress; the corner room was probably the base of a tower. Although the ceramic finds were scant, it seems that the compound should be dated to the Early Roman period (first century BCE–first century CE) and that it was used until the Great Revolt. Remains of contemporary fortified structures had been discovered in the past at Ya‘ad (Permit Nos. A-4317, A-4569), lying c. 3 km west of the site.