Zori discerned three distinct strata (III–I); two construction phases, an early (b) and a late (a) one, were found in Stratum III:
Stratum IIIb. Fourth century CE—the old chapel was built.
Stratum IIIa. Fourth–fifth centuries CE—building extensions, an open courtyard (6) and a southern residential quarter.
Stratum II. Sixth century CE—a monastery with a new chapel, living quarters, halls and rooms enclosed within a wall.
Stratum I. Seventh–ninth centuries CE—the monastery is abandoned and the site is inhabited by nomads.
Stratum IIIb (fourth century CE). A monastery was erected, in which there was a chapel comprising a broad main hall (8; 3.5–11.5 m; Fig. 4) and an apse facing east. Room 8 is mentioned in a bulletin published by the Gilboa Regional Council (Bulletin 1957:7, No. 48), but not in the excavation’s archival material; the southern part of the room was re-exposed. The chapel’s main hall was paved with a mosaic with a floral patterns integrated in octagons arranged in rows and connected by a common side, in numerous shades that highlighted the patterns’ plasticity. The foundation of the apse, built of large fieldstones without mortar, was located in the eastern part of the main hall. West of the hall was a pair of tombs (A, B) aligned in an east–west direction. To the south of the hall was a pool (3.2 × 3.5 m, depth 3.7 m) whose walls were wide and built of ashlars bonded with mortar and cement and covered with a fine-quality plaster. Further to the west, beyond the pool, remains of three rooms (9–11) paved with monochrome mosaics were exposed.
Stratum IIIa (fourth–fifth centuries CE). Various units were added within the precincts of the monastery shortly after its construction. A courtyard (6; 7.4 × 8.5 m; Figs. 5, 6) was built west of the chapel, between the rooms located south of the two tombs, and south of that a new residential wing was constructed. The courtyard was paved with a coarse, white mosaic decorated with two interlaced squares with a lily or star motif in their center and a checker board pattern to its south. The southern residential wing comprised seven interconnected and uniform rooms (13–19), including rooms for baking (15, 16), storing grain (14[?], 16) and what was apparently a living room (17). The main entrance to the residential wing and the entire complex was set in the southern wall of Room 18. In the western room (19) was a tomb (G; depth 1.5 m) that was entirely plastered, and next to it was a room with a mosaic floor adorned with a cross in the east. Zori assumed this room was used as a prayer hall. An unpaved courtyard (12), protected by a wall bounding it on the west and east extended between the southern residential wing and the western group of rooms. In the late fifth century CE the northern part of the chapel was completely destroyed and its floor was seriously damaged. The place was abandoned, but probably not for an extended period.
Stratum II (sixth century CE). In the early sixth century CE activity was renewed in the monastery: in the southern residential wing, the rooms west of the pool, the courtyards and the pool. The pair of tombs remained in place. A new rectangular chapel, oriented along an east–west axis (7; Figs. 7–9), was built on the remains of the old chapel, which was destroyed, and a new apse was constructed above the old apse in the eastern wall. The main hall was separated from the wall of the apse by a chancel wall (Fig. 4). All that remained of the chancel wall was a base built of grooved limestone ashlars. On one of the foundation stones was a four-line Greek inscription that was damaged by the chancel groove (Fig. 5), evidence of the inscription’s antiquity and the secondary use made of the stone as part of the chancel wall’s foundation (Zori 1962:184). The floor in the main hall of the chapel was paved with a mosaic decorated with a breathtaking carpet of medallions populated with the images of fowl, animals and a person, with grape tendrils in between them (Figs. 6, 7). The aspe was paved with a mosaic adorned with a reticulated pattern of diagonal squares set against a white background.
Four tombs were found inside the chapel. Three of the tombs were built and plastered (C–E; not on the plan) below the mosaic floor of the main hall, near the church’s northern wall, and one tomb (F) was dug into Stratum III below the floor of the apse. The main entrance to the chapel was set in the western wall. Another opening was fixed in the northern wall. it led to a small square room (4) paved with various marble of slabs.
Another opening fixed in the eastern wall of Room 4 led to a spacious long hall (5) beside the chapel’s northern wall and in whose northern and eastern walls were niches. The room was paved with a mosaic decorated with a border of intertwining rhombuses and a large medallion with two intertwined loops in the center (Fig. 8). The mosaic floor also covered the bottom of the niches and the opening that led to Room 4, where it covered the top of the wall of the old church. It was decorated with a jar that has two handles and plants and flowers growing from inside it. Zori assumed that this room was as a baptisterium. North of Room 4, in the narrow space between it and the northern wall of Room 5, was an elongated cell (3) that had wide walls and was paved with ceramic slabs. A sewage channel sloping to the north was installed in the southern wall that separated Cell 3 from Room 4. It passed beneath the floor and the northern wall of Room 5 and was connected to a wider channel running from west to east that passed beneath the floor of Hall 21 and under the eastern perimeter wall. Zori identified this unit as a lavatory. Two other rooms (1, 2) paved with mosaics were built west of Rooms 3 and 4.
Two large pottery vessels were found on the mosaic floor next to the northern wall of Room 1, and red colored stains were discerned on the floor near them (Fig. 9). In Zori’s opinion this room was used for dying and laundry. The broad channel below the floor of Hall 21 also passed under the eastern wall of this room and was probably associated with this activity. North and west of this complex were additional halls (20–23) that were paved with white monochrome mosaics. These halls were surrounded by a wall on the west and north that was connected to the perimeter wall of the southern wing.
The area of the monastery increased to approximately 1.5 dunams (30 × 50 m). Courtyard 6 was located west of the chapel (Stratum IIIb) and continued to exist, but its original shape was changed. This was evident because the new chapel’s southwestern corner was built over the courtyard’s mosaic pavement, and covered a section of the pattern of intertwined squares that was in the center of the courtyard; it also narrowed the eastern part of the courtyard. The drainage channel between Courtyard 6 and Room 9 continued to convey sewage outside the monastery. The complex of new rooms and halls around the church was enclosed on the west and north by a wall that adjoined the wall that delimited the southern wing and formed a single settlement unit that was also used by the monastery in the second phase of its existence.
At some point, probably close to the time when the church was abandoned, another wing that included three rooms aligned in a row from east to west (24–26) was built west of Courtyard 6, outside the enclosed area of the monastery. The outer and inner walls of the wing were more massive and wider (width 1 m) than the rest of the monastery buildings’ walls in both of the periods, and the entire structure was fortified with an embankment of stones and tamped soil. Zori assumed that these rooms were part of a wing, adjacent to but outside of the monastery wall, was used as a prison during the transition period between the late sixth century CE and the time of the Muslim conquest. Afterwards, the monastery ceased to function, probably prior to the Muslim conquest. Given that there was no evidence of damage or destruction amongst the remains, it seems that the monastery was abandoned, and that the tombs were probably plundered sometime later.
Stratum I (seventh–ninth centuries CE). Remains of several walls were exposed that did not link up to form an architectural complex. The walls were erected on the floor of Courtyard 6 and the mosaic floors of the rooms and halls. These were used by temporary inhabitants who settled around the monastery and randomly buried their dead inside the remains of the buildings. The pool was no longer used, and Arabic inscriptions were engraved on one of its plastered walls (Fig. 10). The pool was destroyed in the wake of an earthquake that probably occurred in 748 CE. Glazed pottery sherds found in this stratum indicate that the temporary settlement was probably during the Abbasid period (eighth–ninth centuries CE).