In December 2018, a trial excavation was conducted in the northern industrial zone of Shoham (Permit No. A-8400; map ref. 196567–85/658586–609), prior to the construction of Road 105. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Shoham Economic Company, was directed by A. ‘Azab, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), A. Dagot (GPS), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and P. Gendelman (scientific guidance).
Agricultural Terraces. Two retaining walls were documented (W10, W11; length 10 m and 37 m, width 0.5–0.6 m; Figs. 2, 3) along the western slope of the excavation area. The walls were constructed of medium to large fieldstones and preserved to a height of two (W10) and three (W11) courses. In a section excavated to the east of W11 (Fig. 4), two layers of fill were detected above the natural bedrock: a lower layer composed of small stones and some hamra soil, and an upper one of dark, fertile soil (0.2–0.3 m thick). The fills yielded a handful of ribbed body fragments.
Quarry and Cave. A small quarry was excavated (L12; 2.5 × 2.6 m, depth 2.07 m; Fig. 5). Its western wall retained signs of quarrying and severance channels of building stones (Fig. 6). An entrance to an unfinished cave (width 0.55 m, height 0.7 m; Fig. 7) was hewn in the quarry’s northeast wall. A socket (0.75 × 0.80 m) was cut around the opening, probably to accommodate a roll-stone. The quarry fill contained several potsherds, including jars (Fig. 8) dating from the Roman period (first–second centuries CE).
The excavation finds add to similar ones documented in excavations and surveys previously conducted in the area. Together, they attest to agricultural activity at Kh. el-Bira during the Roman period.