In March-April 2005 an archaeological excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Railways, was conducted in the wake of plans to construct a second railroad track along the Na’an-Beer Sheva rail line. The excavation was directed by Yigal Israel and Oded Feder, with assistance from Avi Hajian (surveying), Nachshon Sena (photography), Ronny Gat (pottery restoration) and laborers from Beer Sheva. The site is situated on the northwestern bank of Nahal Beer Sheva and east of the Makhteshim factory. It extends across c. 20 dunams. Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the end of the Kingdom of Judah (700-586 BCE), the Late Hellenistic period (2nd century BCE) and the Byzantine period are scattered across the surface of the site. Wall remains visible on the surface level in the eastern part of the site are ascribed to the Byzantine period. These may be the remains of a farm house. To the south of them is a cave opening. On the bank of Nahal Beer Sheva, in the southeastern part of the site, is a building that dates to the end of the Ottoman period or the time of the British Mandate. Archaeological excavations, under the direction of Ya’akov Baumgarten, were conducted at the site at the end of the 1998 and the beginning of 1999, prior to laying the railroad track to the central train station in Beer Sheva.
During the course of the excavation ten squares were opened in five areas (A-E), covering a total area of 245 square meters, along an axis c. 100 m long. The remains of five complexes dating to the Hellenistic period were exposed. These were underground dwellings that had been excavated into the depths of the loess soil and river conglomerates stratified below it. Subsequently, when some of their ceilings collapsed, the pits were adapted for further occupation there.
Area A – located at the northern end of the line of excavation squares; two excavation squares were opened in an area of 50 square meters. Remains of an underground dwelling complex consisting of two subterranean rooms were exposed.
Area B – one square, 20 square meters in area, was excavated in which remains of a single subterranean room were exposed.
Area C – two excavation squares were opened in an area of 50 square meters where a complex was exposed in which there is a steep staircase built of large river pebbles. It may have been constructed after the ceiling collapsed.
Area D – four excavation squares were opened covering an area of 100 square meters. Remains of two pits dating to the end of the Iron Age were exposed in one of the squares, next to the current surface level. The pits were excavated into the loess soil above a subterranean room dating to the Hellenistic period. This room was part of an intricate underground dwelling complex in which three rooms and a corridor were exposed.
Area E – the southernmost area in the excavation. A single square was opened covering 25 square meters in which part of a subterranean complex was exposed.
The finds recovered in the excavations include: pottery vessels, clay loom weights, fragments of basalt flour mills, flint pounders, fragments of stone bowls and animal bones.