During December 2006, a salvage excavation was conducted at Lehavim (Permit No. A-4980; map ref. 18115–29/58623–35), prior to enlarging the settlement. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Industrial Buildings Company, Ltd., was directed by V. Nikolsky-Carmel, with the assistance of H. Lavi (administration), V. Essman (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography), T. Kornfeld (drafting), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), A. Dodin (pottery drawing) and F. Sonntag and N. Shimshon-Paran.
The excavation area (20 x 220 m) was located to the northwest of Lehavim. Prior to the excavation, remains of walls were discerned on the surface. Two buildings from the Ottoman period and an animal pen that postdated them were exposed (Fig. 1).
Building 1 (4.4 x 5.2 m; Fig. 2). The walls of the building (W1–W4; width 0.7 m, preserved height 0.7 m) were built of mud bricks that were placed on foundations of small wadi pebbles, except for the outer side of W1, which consisted of dressed limestone. An entrance threshold (width 0.4 m) was discovered in the middle of W1. A drainage pipe was exposed in W2, close to the elevation of the floor; the pipe’s outer part was of iron (Fig. 3) and the inner part was a glass bottle (Fig. 4). A tamped-earth floor (L109), overlain with an iron pickaxe and a few sherds of black Gaza ware, dating to the Ottoman period, including bowls (Fig. 5:1–3), a jar (Fig. 5:4), a clay pipe (Fig. 5:6) and a stopper (Fig. 5:7), was exposed inside the building.
Building 2 (Fig. 6). Only some of the building’s walls were discovered (W6–W8; width 0.7 m). The entire length of W7 (6.5 m) was exposed, whereas the northern wall was not preserved at all. The walls, built of fieldstones and mud-brick material, were preserved a single course high. A stone socket was discovered on the interior of W6 and remains of white plaster were preserved on the wall next to it. The floor of the building was composed of mud-brick material, coated with white plaster. A hearth (diam. 0.4 m) filled with ash was found on the floor and next to it were a few fragments of black Gaza ware that dated to the Ottoman period, including a jar (Fig. 5:5).
Animal Pen (W9; Fig. 7). The animal pen, built of dressed and partially dressed limestone in secondary use, was preserved a single course high. The enclosure blocked the entrance to Building 1 and was therefore built probably after the structure was no longer in use.