During July–August 2009, a salvage excavation was conducted at Khirbat ‘Amra (Permit No. A-5699; map ref. 19170–6/62890–5; Fig. 1), in the wake of infrastructure work by the Meqorot Company. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by E. Kogan-Zehavi, with the assistance of Y. Lender (administration), V. Essman (surveying), D. Storchan (GPS) and N. Zak (drafting).
The site, in the western Judean Shephelah, north of Nahal Timna, is situated on a hill whose top is occupied with an impressive stone building. A number of scholars, among them Clermont-Ganneau, Conder and Kitchener and Guérin, referred to the area as a village named ‘Ammuriya. Remains that dated to the Ottoman, Mamluk, Early Islamic, Byzantine and Hellenistic periods had been discovered in the northern part of the site (Permit No. A-4370).
Mechanical equipment uncovered a wide wall in the current excavation, located c. 300 m northwest of the site; a square was opened alongside the wall.
The wall (W1; width 1.5 m, max. height 0.6 m; Figs 2, 3) was oriented north–south and several of its sections were discerned along the surface for a distance of c. 40 m. The wall, preserved two courses high, was dry-built of two rows of large carelessly dressed fieldstones, reinforced with small stones and a core of smaller stones. The wall was set on clayey soil that had accumulated on the bedrock (L103–L105; thickness c. 0.4 m). Its northern part deviated from the general course and its sides had collapsed; the reason behind this occurrence remains enigmatic because this section was not excavated.
The meager ceramic finds included several worn body fragments from the Byzantine period, which are insufficient to date the wall.
The broad wall, which undoubtedly rose to a considerable height, was built in an open area and no field walls were noted nearby; it may have demarcated the boundaries of an ancient settlement or its fields.