In March-April 2003 a trial excavation was conducted at the Nahal Guvrin site (map ref. – 132800/115450) prior to the paving of a detour in Highway 353, within the framework of the Cross Israel Hhighway project.
The Site
The Nahal Guvrin site is located on a low hill and is also spread across its northern slope between Kibbutz Gat and Kibbutz Gal-On, c. 1 kilometer west of Tel Zayit and c. 150 m south of Nahal Guvrin. The excavation was conducted in two areas: Area A - south of Highway 353, and Area B - north of the highway.
In Area A building remains and two phases of occupation levels of the Chalcolithic period were discovered; these were overlain with two phases of the Middle Bronze Age. In Area B only remains that date to the Middle Bronze Age were discovered.
The Chalcolithic Period – remains from this period were exposed including installations and rock shelters with built additions intended for dwelling or storage purposes (Pictures 2, 3). Such construction was noted in three places. Based on the pottery sherds that were found inside them, the installations date to the Chalcolithic period.
Two phases of occupation levels with furnace-like installations were also discovered.
It seems that the Chalcolithic settlement was concentrated in the southern, rocky part of the site, where it made use of the bedrock and the recesses that are in it.
The Middle Bronze Age – in the Middle Bronze Age there was a rural settlement located at the site. The settlement remains from this period were discovered in both of the excavation areas (A, B) and included building remains, floors and installations. The buildings were constructed with fieldstones and their floors were made of tamped earth (Picture 1). Pottery vessels and grind stones characteristic of the Middle Bronze Age 2 were found on the floors. The pottery vessels have characteristics of the Middle Bronze Age 2A, as well as the Middle Bronze Age 2B, including a fragment of a juglet belonging to Tell el-Yehudiya ware.