Area A. Remains of two buildings were exposed in the south and the north of the excavation area. The walls of the southern building (Fig. 2) were constructed of undressed limestone and kurkar stones that were brought to the site from a distance of c. 2 km. The building’s floor was paved with small fieldstones and river pebbles and was built on a slope to allow proper drainage. In the southern and northern parts of the building were rooms with earthen floors (L1067, L1110; Fig. 3); in-situ pottery vessels were found on them. A surface paved with fieldstones (L1070) that might have been a courtyard was exposed to the north of the building. The eastern side of the building was robbed, and its western side extended beyond the limits of the excavation area.
The northern building (Fig. 4) extended over a large area. Five walls aligned in an east–west direction and two walls in a north–south direction were found. Installations and pottery vessels were discovered near the walls (Fig. 5). It was difficult to determine if all of the rooms belonged to a single building; one of the spaces might have been an alley or passageway between two adjacent structures.
Area D. In a trial trench (length 20 m; width 5 m; Fig. 6) three superimposed habitation strata were exposed (Fig. 7). The bottom stratum (IV) was either hastily abandoned or destroyed, with pottery vessels found in situ on the floors. In the renewed settlement (Stratum III) built above it, fragments of large pottery vessels were found on floors which were overlain with collapse. Only two large stones survived of a wall built above Stratum III (Stratum II); a floor with numerous pottery vessels abutted the wall. The finds from the three strata date to the Intermediate Bronze Age. A layer of alluvium (Stratum I), devoid of any ancient remains, covered the occupational remains.
All of the walls found in the excavation were built of similar materials and were identical in method of construction: a row of boulders or large fieldstones (average size 0.4 × 0.5 m) with small fieldstones and pebbles inserted between them. The walls survived one course high. The top of the walls was uneven; these courses apparently served as a foundation or base for walls made of perishable materials. Installations, including shallow pits lined with small fieldstones, were found in some of the rooms (Fig. 8); several of these were probably used for domestic industries. On several of the floors were flat fieldstones, probably bases for wooden posts that supported the ceilings. Stones with deeply drilled holes (diam. 0.15 m, depth 0.25–0.30 m) were also found on some of the floors; these were used as installations and as sockets for door hinges.
The ceramic finds included bowls, kraters, spherical cooking pots, jars and pithoi decorated with a rope-like collared rim. A clay goblet decorated with a red-painted zigzag pattern was also found. Several of the sherds were treated with red slip. The pottery vessels were found together with perforated biconical clay objects and sherds that were round through retouch; some were also perforated. Some twenty flint sickle blades were found; most of them are long (up to 0.18 m), with some exhibiting signs of usage gloss. The animal bones are of sheep, goat and cattle, including a burial of an entire cow, although at this stage of research it is difficult to determine if it was interred during the Intermediate Bronze Age or during another period.
The site at Tel Zivda was already inhabited during the Wadi Rabah culture, or slightly thereafter, prior to the Late Chalcolithic period. This is evidenced by the rims of red-slipped and burnished bowls and several denticulated flint blades that were found in Area D. Three fragments of metallic pottery ware imported from the mountains of Lebanon were also found among the pottery vessels in Area D. These sherds date to the Early Bronze Age II and indicate the existence of a settlement on Tel Zivda at that time, although it was not exposed in the excavation. The overwhelming majority of pottery sherds found in the excavation date to the Intermediate Bronze Age. According to the settlement distribution from the northern end of Area C to the southern edge of Area A, the site was extremely large and extended over at least 33 dunams. Most of the walls, apart from three or four, were built in an east–west or north–south direction. Such alignment shows that despite the unstable foundations, the construction in the settlement was planned, and the buildings were uniformly oriented—evidence of an orderly and defined division of land. The orientation of the buildings in Area D corresponded to that of the structures in Area A; thus, it seems that the construction planning was maintained throughout the existence of the settlement.
The stratification of the built and un-built strata indicates that the settlement was not continuous in some of the areas, but was rather inhabited intermittently. Thus, one can assume that the structures at the site were built, abandoned and rebuilt more than once. The extensive area of the settlement, therefore, does not reflect the dimensions of the site at any given time period. On the basis of the stratigraphy in Area D, it seems that the built-up areas did not cover the whole site simultaneously, but rather only parts of it in each phase. The site at Tel Zivda fits into the regional pattern of settlement in the Zevulun Valley during the Intermediate Bronze Age: settlement sites at Kefar Hasidim (Permit No. A-5492), as well as near the Zevulun Valley, at ‘Ein Helu (Covello-Paran 1999) and in the Tabor region at Horbat
Qishron (Smithline 2002
:21–46); tombs at H
anita (Yannai and Rochman-Halperin 2008
), Ibtin (Yannai 2004
), Kabri and Nah
af (Getzov 1995
: Figs. 3, 6, 8); and several sites identified in a survey performed by M. Peilstöker and G. Lehmann (pers. comm.).
The site exposed at Tel Zivda is one of the largest Intermediate Bronze Age sites revealed in Israel, and the first found in the valley itself and not on the surrounding mountain ridges. The architecture at the site resembles the architecture at Horbat Qishron, ‘Ein Helu, in the Jerusalem area and at Har Yeroham. The exposure of the site beneath a two-meter thick layer of alluvium suggests that other large settlements in the Akko Valley are buried below the deep layer of silt as well. The thickness of the accumulated alluvium hampers our ability to identify these sites, and even deep plowing does cannot reach their remains.