During the summer of 2005 new excavations were conducted at the Gat-Guvrin site in the wake of plans to lay additional railway tracks. The site was first excavated by Jean Perrot in 1961-1962. Another excavation was conducted at the site in 1999 by Hamoudi Khalaily, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority. All of the excavations were concentrated east of the railway tracks in the same area.
In our excavations an area of 600 square meters was opened, which is the largest of the areas excavated at this site. During the course of the excavation we succeeded in locating and connecting to the excavation by Jean Perrot from the beginning of the 1960’s, whose exact location was not known, and to Hamoudi Khalaily’s excavation squares that can still been seen. Consequently we were able to glean a broad and contiguous picture of all the excavation areas which makes it possible to perform a better stratigraphic and architectural analysis of this settlement.
In our excavations two occupation stratum were exposed, without any evidence of continuity. The upper stratum, which was dated to the Chalcolithic period, was disturbed by deep plowing. In this stratum there were pits and the remains of isolated walls; most of the finds were dated to the beginning of the Early Bronze Age and a few of them to the Chalcolithic period. The bottom stratum, dated to the Chalcolithic period, was better preserved. The architecture in this stratum mostly consists of shallow pits and bell-shaped pits that are abutted by floors with ash concentrations and fragments of pottery vessels, bones and limestone tools. In our excavations a number of human burials were found for the first time at this site, most of them in shallow pits, with the remains of pigs along side them. A unique round structure built of mudbricks and c. 4 m in diameter is associated with burials at the site. Inside the structure was a juvenile burial, on top of and along side of which, were offerings of different animals such as a whole young pig and a whole leg of a hoofed animal. Also found in the tomb were teeth of an adult individual indicative of primary burials that were relocated for secondary burial. It seems that this unique building was used for the purpose of ceremonial burial.
Among the most outstanding finds is a limestone vessel industry that is unique to this site, particularly the quantity of tools such as scrapers, choppers, anvils etc, which constitute most of the lithic finds at the site.