In 1999-2002 an archaeological expedition from the Ben-Gurion University renewed the excavations at Tel el-Far’ah South. Also participating in the excavation was a contingent from Claremont University in the United States and Rostock University in Germany. The outbreak of the second intifada brought the project to a conclusion a short time after it began because the foreign participants in the excavation decided not to return to Israel for security reasons. During the last season, in 2002, we completed the work in all of the open squares and covered over the excavation area with soil again. Thus the results of the excavation are quite limited. In two excavation areas we examined the stratigraphy of the Roman, Hellenistic and Persian periods, in addition to which we excavated the Bedouin graves that penetrated into the upper strata. In Field 3 we examined the fortifications of the site. While excavating the city wall we exposed the fortifications dating to the Iron Age and those of the Middle Bronze Age. In addition we studied the strata and buildings that are connected to the fortifications dating to the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, as well as the Iron Age. An ostracon bearing the word “to our master” [לאדוננו] was found in this area. Based on the script, the ostracon dates to the tenth or ninth century BCE.
The main conclusion we reached confirms the nature of Tel el Far’ah South as a border fortress and way station. During the second and first millennia BCE the site marked the southeastern boundary of the political entities that had their center in the region of Gaza. The site also served as a meeting place between the populations that resided in the agricultural areas of the coastal region west of the tell and those that lived in the desert and Arava to its east.