During June 2004, a survey prior to development was conducted between the beach at Tel Barukh in the south and Tel Raqqit in the north (Permit No. A-4308; map ref. 1800–07/6706–16). The survey, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Enosh Environmental Systems Company, was performed by H. Khalaily, G. Hillel and L. Barda (GPS).
The survey area extends across the western kurkar ridge of the coastal plain. The ridge descends gently to the east and precipitously to the west, where cliffs were formed. Parts of the ridge, particularly its eastern edge, were covered with sand dunes after the Byzantine period and these hampered our efforts to locate ancient remains.The rapid development in this part of the country and the bustling human activity in the region, including the driving of SUVs, have damaged the ancient landscape and destroyed much of the area. Nevertheless, the remains of several prehistoric settlement sites were discovered in the survey; most were recently disturbed and are still at risk of being ruined. A previous survey of the region recorded several sites that dated to the Epi-palaeolithic period and contained a high concentration of microlithic tools (O. Bar-Yosef 1970.The Epi-Paleolithic Cultures of Palestine. Ph.D diss., the Hebrew University, Jerusalem).The exact location of these sites could not be determined in the current survey, possibly because some of them are situated beyond the surveyed area and in others the tools were collected and only debitage had remained behind.A site dating to the Kabaran culture had previously been discovered in an excavation on the ridge, south of the survey area (‘Atiqot 42:1–19); It indicated that the ridge was an excellent location for hunters and gathers to settle in the Upper Paleolithic and Epi-palaeolithic periods.
Ten sites were documented in the survey (Fig. 1) besides Tel Raqqit (9).Flint artifacts that were scattered across an extensive area, probably the result of later human activity, were documented in five of the sites (2–4, 5, 8). The flint artifacts from Sites 2–4 dated to the Epi-palaeolithic period and included, most notably, microliths. Twisted bladelets, characteristic of the Upper Paleolithic period, were identified at Site 5; large flakes were noted at Site 8, although the absence of tools made it difficult to date them.A winepress and tombs were documented at Site 10 and only tombs at Site 11, all dating to the Byzantine period; some of tombs had been excavated in the past (HA 27:10 [Hebrew]). The remains of isolated buildings of beach rock, which contained a concentration of potsherds and glass vessels, were documented at three sites (1, 6, 7).
The survey showed that the westernmost kurkar ridge of the coastal plain was inhabited in the Upper Paleolithic and Epi-palaeolithic periods. The building remains, tombs and winepress are indicative of habitation postdating the Roman period.