In September 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted in Moshav Sede David (Permit No. A-7222; map ref. 170521/609401; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Meir Ashush & Sons Company, was directed by V. Lifshitz, with the assistance of Y. Al-‘Amor (administration), A. Hajian and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), S. Gal (GIS), I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing) and a group of laborers from the Bedouin town of Laqiya. Additional help was rendered during the excavation by D. Varga and S. Ganor.
Several archaeological surveys (License Nos. S-46/2008; S-486/2014) were conducted previously in the region of Sede David, east of Highway 352 and north of Sederot. The area was intensely cultivated in the past. In June 2014, following an inspection during development work, trial trenches were excavated and clusters of pottery vessels were discovered.
A vaulted tomb (Fig. 2) and two cist graves (Fig. 3) were discovered in the excavation.
The vaulted tomb (length 2.1 m, width 1.5 m, depth 1.6 m) was built on a north–south axis and is only partially preserved. The vaulted roof had collapsed (Fig. 4), causing considerable damage. The tomb was built directly on the loess soil. The walls were plastered on the inside, a mixture of cement and pottery sherds used to bond the plaster. The western and southern walls were completely destroyed by the collapse of the vault. The entrance to the tomb seems to have been in its western part. The floor was entirely destroyed, leaving only a foundation level of river pebbles, laid directly on the ground (L3; Fig. 5). A few pottery fragments were discovered inside the tomb, as well as a small number of animal bones that had apparently been washed in by the rain.
Two cist graves (L9, Figs. 3, 6), oriented east–west, were discovered on the surface, c. 50 m west of the vaulted tomb. They were dug into the loess, and their walls were constructed of soft limestone. Most of the northern grave (L10; 0.8 × 1.6 m, inner dimensions 0.34 × 1.4 m; Fig. 7) was destroyed by the development work, the southern grave (L11; 0.8 × 2.4 m, inner dimensions 0.3 × 2.1 m) was almost completely preserved. No artifacts were discovered in either.
Fragments of Byzantine-period pottery were found inside the vaulted tomb and on the surface around the cist graves. They included basins (Fig. 8:1, 2), jars (Fig. 8:3–5) and jugs (Fig. 8:6–8).
The pottery indicates that the tombs were built during the Byzantine period (fourth–sixth centuries CE), and were part of a burial ground that was not preserved.