During January 2007, a salvage excavation was conducted on Marzuk and ‘Azar Street in Yafo (Jaffa; Permit No. A-5016; map ref. NIG 177388–401/624498–504; OIG 127388–401/124498–504), after ancient remains were exposed in a probe trench that was opened prior to the installation of water and sewer lines. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, was directed by L. Rauchberger, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (field photography), O. Ackermann (geomorphology), E. Jakoel (probe trench), M. Peilstöcker (archaeological guidance), P. Gendelman (ceramic consultation) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), as well as Y. Arbel, M. Ajami, D. Barkan, D. Golan, R. Asis, R. Ben Ezra and O. Abadi.
The excavation was carried out along the eastern part of the street, near the intersection with Jerusalem Boulevard (Fig. 1). Two previous excavations had been conducted further down the street to the west, revealing fragments of pottery vessels from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods alongside animal bones and tesserae (HA-ESI 111:39*–40*; Fig. 1:1), and remains of tombs, a septic pit and foundations of a large building that dated to the later part of the Ottoman period (HA-ESI 113:131*; Fig. 1:2).
After removing the asphalt and using a backhoe that dug to a depth of 1.1 m, two squares (A, B; each 4.5 × 5.0 m) were opened along the southern sidewalk of the street.
In Square A, a section of a broad wall (W101; at least 1.2 m wide, height 0.5 m; Figs. 2, 3) was uncovered along 2.2 m. The wall was oriented north–south and continued north, beyond the limits of the excavation area. Only the western side of W101, which was preserved three–four courses high that slightly inclined to the west, was exposed. It was built of fieldstones mixed with roughly hewn kurkar stones of various sizes (average size 0.08 × 0.12 × 0.20 m), among which a large block of beach rock (0.11 × 0.31 × 0.47 m) was laid. This combination of different types of stones may indicate that they were in secondary use when placed in the wall. West of W101 and parallel to it was a collapse of fieldstones and coarsely hewn kurkar stones that probably originated from the wall, in whose vicinity small pieces of white plaster were also found.
In Square B, a refuse pit that contained modern building debris was exposed.
The pottery finds recovered from the layer of soil above the wall and the collapse included a gray or black slipped bowl from the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries BCE; Fig. 4:1) and a zir jar from the Middle Ages (about eighth–twelfth centuries CE; Fig. 4:9). The ceramic finds from the collapse and the fill below it, as well as from the fill that abutted the western side of the wall, included a Galilean bowl (Fig. 4:2), an imported fry pan (Fig. 4:3), two basins (Fig. 4:4, 5), a krater (Fig. 4:6), a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 4:7) and the base of a saqiye jar (Fig. 4:10), which dated to the Late Roman period (first–fourth centuries CE), as well as a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 4:8) and a fragment of a roof tile (Fig. 4:11) from the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE). The well-preserved pottery fragments indicate that they did not originate in the alluvium, but rather derived from fill material. Since most of the ceramic fragments were dated to the Late Roman period (first–fourth centuries CE), it seems that this should also be the date of the wall.
The region where the wall was discovered is located beyond the built boundaries of the city of Jaffa in antiquity and northwest of a seasonal swamp that existed east of the city until the end of the nineteenth century CE. It is difficult to determine the use of W101 and it is unclear whether the entire width of the wall was preserved or only its core, while its outer faces were plundered. The wall may have been built this way originally, as either a retaining wall or as part of an agricultural installation that did not require careful construction.