During February 2012, an excavation was conducted in Nahal Be’er Hayyil, across from Ashalim (Permit No. A-6656; map ref. 175178-97/542572-82; Fig. 1), following a request by the Ramat Ha-Negev Regional Council for a building permit. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Mei Ramat Negev, was directed by Y. Haimi, with the assistance of Y. Al-‘Amor (administration) and M. Kunin and A. Hajian (surveying).
The excavation (100 sq m) explored the circular building (L2; diameter 9 m), which was built in the streambed, near farming terraces (Figs. 3, 4). An entrance (width 1.1 m) was fixed in the eastern side of the building. Modern clothing and some worn black Gaza ware dating to the first half of the twentieth century CE (Fig. 5) were found inside the structure. The circumferential wall (W101; width 0.6 m) was built of stones that had evidently been gathered from the stream. A couple of terraces (L3, L4) were excavated to determine their size.
The terraces were constructed of one course of stones founded atop the natural soil consisting of loess mixed with river pebbles (Fig. 6).
The clothing found in the structure indicates the contemporary use of the building by Bedouins living in the region. Many farming terraces were built within the stream’s flood plain to slowdown the flow of water during floods. These terraces indicate winter farming that was cultivated in the region.