In February 2013, a trial excavation was conducted at Ramat Yishay (Permit No. A-6715; map ref. 215976–6028/734396–458), prior to construction of a residential building. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the contractor, was directed by B. Hanna (photography), with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), R. Mishayev and M. Cohen (surveying), H. Tahan (drawing of finds) and laborers from Yafia‘.
Two adjacent squares were opened, yielding six pit graves (Fig. 2); the graves were not fully excavated. Some of the graves’ outer structure was preserved, such as in the case of Grave 1 (preserved length 2 m, preserved width 0.5 m) and Graves 2 and 3, where only a few stones were preserved; no outer construction survived in the rest of the graves. Human bones were found in situ in Grave 6. The graves were hewn along an east–west axis in the softchalk bedrock. It seems that the orientation of the graves is indicative of Muslim burials, where it is customary to place the head of the deceased in the west, on its right side so that the face is turned south, toward Mecca.
The soil fill that covered the graves contained a large amount of modern refuse. A thin layer of soil that accumulated over the graves separated them from the fill. The base of a glazed bowl dating to the Abbasid period (Fig. 3) was found in it. The meager ceramic finds can be associated with the
Abbasid-period finds (the eighth–tenth centuries CE) from a nearby excavation (Porat and Hanna 2010
No occupation remains were exposed, even though the area lies c. 50 m west of the Byzantine-period settlement. The six graves are typical of Muslim burials. The dating of the finds to the Abbasid period remains a hypothesis, given the dearth of artifacts from the graves themselves.
The excavation seems to indicate that the northwestern slope of Ramat Yishay was used as a cemetery for the Abbasid period settlement that extended across the hill to the north and east.
Porat L. and Hanna B. 2010. Ramat Yishay. HA-ESI 122
Raban A. 1982. Map of Nahalal (28) (Archaelogical Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.