In July 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted in the northeastern area of Ibthan (Permit No. A-6844; map ref. 204811–39/697029–60; Fig. 1), prior to construction activity. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by S. Katawy, was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), R. Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), C. Ben-Ari (GPS), A. Gorzalczany (scientific advisor), P. Gendelman (ceramics) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
Two excavation squares (A1, A2; Fig. 2) were opened on a hill within the precincts of Khirbat Ibthan, exposing the remains of two Roman-period buildings that flanked a courtyard. The western structure consisted of two rooms (L105, L111) built of large stones, some of which were dressed. Small- and medium-sized fieldstones were integrated into several of the walls. A portion of a terrace (L113; Fig. 3) was uncovered east of W102, in the southern part of the area. A threshold stone incorporated in the terrace continued into the balk. The terrace may have served as an anteroom for the building. Chalk floors were exposed in both of the structure’s rooms (Fig. 4). Only a corner of the eastern building (L106; Fig. 5) was exposed. The structure was massively built of large, partially dressed stones. The courtyard between the buildings had a chalk floor with a thick foundation (0.3 m), with a pavement built of small and medium-sized fieldstones (L108; Fig. 6) in its southeastern part. Collapsed building stones were discovered in the rooms of the western building and in the courtyard.
Pottery sherds dating to the Hellenistic, Roman (the majority) and Byzantine periods were discovered both below and above the floors. They include a small amphora from the Hellenistic period (Fig. 7:1); a bowl slipped on both the inside and outside (Fig. 7:2), a cooking pot (Fig. 7:3), a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 7:4) and a Phoenician jar (Fig. 7:5) from the Roman period; as well as a cooking pot (Fig. 7:6) and a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 7:7) from the Byzantine period.