In April–May 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted in the rear courtyard of the el-Manar School in Lod (Permit No. A–6778; map ref. 190513–563/651043–115), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Nagorsky, with the assistance of Y. Elisha and A. Shadman (inspection), E. Bachar and Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kunin (surveying), A. Peretz (field photography), C. Amit (studio photography) and R. Kool (numismatics).
The city of Lod is located in at the center of a wide valley, referred to in the Mishnah as the Shephelah of Lod, along the southern bank of Nah
al Ayyalon. The excavation area lies within the precincts of the ancient tell, which apart from its northern side is covered with modern construction. Over the years, surveys and archaeological excavations were carried out on and around the tell, documenting numerous sites. In an excavation at the northern end of the tell, four Early Bronze Age settlement strata were identified (Kaplan 1977
). In excavations conducted on Tel Lod since 2000, settlement remains were discovered dating to the following periods: Pottery Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, Byzantine and Early Islamic (Yannai and Marder 2000
; Arbel 2004
; Weinberger 2005
; Golani 2005
Trial trenches revealed remains of floors or habitation levels and pottery sherds from a variety of periods. Four excavation squares were opened (A–D; 10 × 10 m; Figs. 1, 2). The topsoil was removed to a depth of 1.2 m using mechanical equipment. Two settlement phases of the Ottoman period were exposed.
Squares A and B. A hard, compacted soil fill (L10, L11; thickness 0.2 m) containing small fieldstones, fragments of gray plaster, lumps of lime, marble fragments and pieces of a white mosaic was discovered at a depth of c. 1.0–1.2 m below the surface. The fill overlay light brown, sandy soil devoid of artifacts (L14, L16). The sand abutted the wall of a limekiln dug in the ground (L18; exposed width 2.4 m, height 0.8 m) in the western part of Sq A. The kiln’s eastern wall was not preserved; the western wall was situated outside the excavation limits. Lumps of white lime stuck to the floor were discovered at the bottom of the kiln.
Squares C and D. Under a topsoil layer of brown earth mixed with gravel (thickness 1 m), was a fill of hard, compacted soil (L12, L13; depth 0.2–04 m), containing small fieldstones, fragments of gray plaster, lumps of lime, marble fragments and pieces of a white mosaic. The fill contained a large amount of finds, such as pottery shreds, clay tobacco pipes mainly dating to the eighteenth century CE (Fig. 3), glass fragments, large animal bones and two coins, one dating to the fourteenth century CE (IAA 145664), the other to the seventeenth century CE (IAA 145665). This fill covered a light yellow chalk habitation level (L15, L17). A refuse pit (L22; diam. 1.55 m, depth 0.4 m) was found sunk into this level in Sq C. The pit was found filled with burnt soil containing a large amount of charcoal, charred animal bones, potsherds and glass fragments. In the northeastern corner of the Sq D, the habitation level reaches a massive pier (L25); only its southern face was exposed. The pier was built of coarsely hewn stones, which bore remains of gray plaster. The sherds recovered from the soil fill that covered the habitation level and from below it (L23) date to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
Two phases were discerned in the excavation. The early phase comprised a light yellow habitation level of uniform elevation that was unearthed in Sqs C and D; its northern edge abutted the pier, and a refuse pit was cut into it. These features seem to have belonged to a courtyard of a building that extended north of the excavation area. The habitation level is dated to the Ottoman period. The late phase included the hard soil fill that was exposed in all of the squares and abutted the kiln wall; the clay tobacco pipes date it to the eighteenth century CE.
Kaplan J. 1977. Neolithic and Chalcolithic Remains at Lod. Eretz-Israel 13:57–75 (Hebrew; English summary 291*–292*).
Yannai E. and Marder O. 2000. Lod. HA-ESI 112:63*–65*.