Two excavation areas (A, B) were opened at either end of the trench, which extended in a north– south direction for a distance of 300 m. Three squares were opened in Area A, which was near the well and c. 80 m from the tell (map ref. 21430–40/75330–40); the discovered finds contribute to our understanding of the settlement distribution beyond the tell in ancient times, prior to the construction of the ramparts in the Middle Bronze Age and the Persian period. Two squares were opened in Area B, c. 250 m north of the tell (map ref. 21430–50/75365–70), where a section of a wide Roman road was discovered, possibly an imperial highway that should be conserved.
Square A1 (max. depth 1.5 m). Soil accumulations that contained many fragments of pottery vessels from different periods were exposed; no architectural remains were discovered. The potsherds included bowls (Fig. 2:1), a churn (Fig. 2:2), jar handles (Fig. 2:3, 4) and a hole-mouth jar (Fig. 2:5), characteristic of the Early Chalcolithic period (fifth millennium BCE), which were found scattered throughout the square; gray-burnished bowls (Fig. 2:6–8) and two hole-mouth jars (Fig. 2:9, 10) from Early Bronze Age IA were discovered in the middle of the square. The accumulations in the middle of the square also contained a few potsherds from the Middle and Late Bronze Ages and Iron Age II (not drawn). Most of the finds were recovered from the upper layers of fill in the square and included mostly fragments of jars (Fig. 2:11, 12) from the Persian period (fifth–fourth centuries BCE). Several flint artifacts were found, including a retouched object covered with patina (Fig 3:1) that dated to the Paleolithic period; a chisel (Fig 3:4) from the Early Chalcolithic period and two knapped artifacts of beige flint, a blade fragment (Fig. 3:5) and a flake (Fig. 3:6), which probably belonged to a Canaanean blade industry of the Early Bronze Age. A cube-shaped bronze weight (18×19×20 mm, 27.64 g; Fig. 4) was discovered in the soil accumulations and a bronze coin from the time of Ptolemy I (305–285 BCE), minted in Egypt (IAA 106435), was found on the surface.
Square A2 (5×12 m; Figs. 5, 6). Part of a building foundation (W102, W103, W110), built of medium and large fieldstones, was exposed; it was set on virgin soil and preserved a single course high. The structure was dated to the Persian period, based on scant ceramic finds that included fragments of jars from this period.
Square A3 (4×5 m; Figs. 7, 8). A section of a wall (W118), built of medium-sized fieldstones (0.15×0.25 m), was exposed. A tamped-earth floor (L114) that extended south of the wall was covered with a layer of soil (L111) that contained a rich assemblage of pottery vessels from the Persian period. These included a krater (Fig. 9:4) and a Miletus-type amphora (Fig. 9:12) that dated to the fifth–fourth centuries BCE. The accumulations of light brown soil (L116) that abutted the northern side of W118 contained potsherds from the Persian period, including a rim and two bases of mortaria (Fig. 9:1–3), cooking pots (Fig. 9:6), a stand (Fig. 9:7), hole-mouth jars (Fig. 9:8, 9), jars (Fig. 9:10, 11), an open lamp (Fig. 9:13) and a fragment of a unique handmade vessel with a square cross-section that is decorated with buttons (Fig. 9:14). Similar potsherds were collected throughout the square and close to the surface (L106) where many jars and cooking pots (Fig. 9:5) were found. A few flint artifacts were also gathered, including a bladelet core (Fig. 3:2) that should probably be attributed to the Epipaleolithic period and a sickle blade (Fig. 3:3) from the Early Chalcolithic period.
Square B1 (10×10 m; Figs. 10, 11). A well-built section of a Roman road (width 8.6 m), consisting of a uniform surface of various size fieldstones, was revealed. Only the eastern curb of the road, constructed from headers and stretchers, had survived, and the raised central portion of the road (spina) was built of a row of neatly hewn stones. The western curb had sunk in antiquity and was recently damaged by mechanical equipment. The curb sinking resulted in making the road narrower. This was repaired with a row of stones, built as a terrace, which was preserved in the southwestern corner of the exposed section. The soil layers underlying the paved road were similar to those covering the road; they were rich in clay, which explains the ground heaving and the shifting of some of the road’s stones. The soil accumulation overlaying the road contained mostly worn fragments of pottery vessels, including jar handles from the Roman period (second–third centuries CE). This seems to be a section of the road that linked ‘Akko with Sepphoris and continued inland; the road probably turned northwest there, to bypass the Nahal Na‘aman marshes. The impressive structure and width of the road indicate that it was an important imperial highway.
Square B2 (Fig. 10). This square was opened further along the course of the road, c. 30 m south of Sq B1. The road was not preserved here and only several medium and large fieldstones were found.