Eleven squares (B1, C1, C2, F1–F8; Fig. 1) were opened along the planned routes of roads. Remains of two layers were uncovered: Stratum I from the Early Bronze Age II and Stratum 2 from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.
Stratum 2. A layer of stone and brownish-red basalt debris that lay on hizri bedrock was exposed in Sqs F1 and F2 (Figs. 2, 3). Obsidian fragments, flint tools and knapping debitage dating to the Middle Paleolithic and Pre-Pottery Neolithic periods were found, most probably ex situ.
Stratum 1. In Sqs F1 and F2, a thin layer of dark soil was exposed above Stratum 2. It contained pottery sherds dating to the EB II, including a platter (Fig. 4:1) and a jar (Fig. 4:2), and a basalt bowl rim (Fig. 4:3). As these are the first artifacts from this period to be discovered at the site, they update the site’s occupational history.
In Sqs F6–F8, in the western part of the excavation area, a layer of soft, sterile gray soil was found at a depth of c. 1 m, directly above bedrock, indicating that this was the boundary of the Neolithic settlement. In Sqs B1, C1 and C2, in the eastern part of the excavation area, the bedrock was exposed at a depth of c. 0.15 m, revealing no architectural remains or rock-cuttings. It thus seems that this area was uninhabited.
Hamoudi Khalaily
A total of 567 flint items—of which 33 are tools and nine are cores—were collected in the excavation. Five pounders made on basalt pebbles were also found. Industrial debitage is the main component of the assemblage, comprising more than 90% of the items. Bright patination on some of the items is probably indicative of prolonged exposure and a slow process of stratification. The tools, on the other hand, are pristine, without patination. The absence of industrial components and the composition of the tools indicate that the flint was not knapped in the excavation area, and it seems that the source of flint, despite being pristine, should be sought elsewhere.
The raw material used in the flint industry is of fine quality and is similar to that of the Ha-Gosherim site located to the west of the road. About half of the flint items—including the cores and the tools—are gray, the other half brown. A small percentage of flakes and chunks bear thick and sometimes even double patination. The ends of the items are broken, indicating that they were transported from afar, possibly fluvially. The items are characteristic of a Middle Paleolithic industry.
The flint industry is a flake industry. Flakes constitute c. 80% of the debitage, and most of the cores are flake cores. Bladelets are the second most prevalent group (11%). Blades, on the other hand, are less frequent, comprising 3% of the debitage. The vast majority of the tools are ad-hoc flake tools. Thus, most of the tools were knapped on flakes, including 17 retouched flakes, nine denticulates, two drills, two retouched blades, two axe fragments and one sickle blade. With the exception of the two axes and the sickle blade, which are characteristic of Neolithic assemblages, the repertoire lacks datable tools, such as arrowheads.
The nature of the flint collected at the site and the paucity of datable tools make it difficult to determine the provenance of this assemblage. It presumably originated in several of the sites adjacent to the excavation area, one of which is the Neolithic site of Ha-Gorsherim. The pottery sherds that make up the ceramic repertoire reinforce this supposition.
The excavation yielded flint items from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods; they are probably ex situ, indicating that the site was limited to the area to the south of the stream during these periods. The EB II pottery adds a previously unknown dimension to the occupational history of the site.