During June 2007, a salvage excavation was conduct at Tel ‘Ashir, within the precincts of the Wingate Institute (Permit No. A-5156; map ref. 18469/68556), in the wake of exposing ancient remains during preliminary inspection, prior to the construction of a swimming pool. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Wingate Institute, was directed by D. Barkan, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), T. Meltsen and R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), A. Dagot (GPS), T. Sagiv (field photography), M. Shuiskaya (field drawings), D. Masarwa (preliminary inspections) and H. Torge (ceramics). Additional assistance was rendered by A. Re’em, A. ‘Azab, L. Talmi and representatives of the Wingate Institute.
The site is located on a kurkar hill south of the Nahal Poleg wadi channel, c. 500 m east of the coastline (Fig. 1). An open air cultic site of the Intermediate Bronze Age was discovered at the site during three seasons of excavations in 1981–1982 (HA 77, 78–79; R. Gophna and E. Ayalon 2003, Eretz-Israel Vol. 27, pp. 55–65 [Hebrew]).
The excavation area (75 sq m; Fig. 2) was located c. 20 m south of Gophna and Ayalon’s excavation. Small and medium kurkar stones, scattered along a uniform level (Loci 101, 103, 104, 109, 112; Figs. 3–6), were discovered throughout the entire area. The hill’s kurkar sand (Loci 107, 108, 111; Fig. 7) was revealed below the stone level. A few potsherds from Iron II were discovered between the stones, including a krater (Fig. 8:1), a cooking pot (Fig. 8:2) and a jar (Fig. 8:3) that dated to the ninth century BCE. These stones may be the remains of a surface that was built around the Intermediate Bronze Age cultic area, exposed nearby. It is suggested that long after the site was abandoned in the Intermediate Bronze Age, the population residing in the small nearby settlements probably continued to assemble there.