The excavation area was bounded on the south by the northern row of houses in the Nof Yam neighborhood, on the west by the eastern fence of the Israel Military Industries factory, on the east by the coastal road (Highway 2) and on the north by the main approach road leading from the coastal road to the factory (Fig. 1). Some 206 excavation squares were opened; those that yielded finds were expanded into twelve excavation areas (A, A1–A4, B, C, C2, D, D1–D3; c. 500 × 600 m; Fig. 2). Finds dating mainly to the Byzantine period were exposed, as were several remains from the Early Islamic period. The finds include winepresses, some of which might predate the Byzantine period, field towers and several types of tombs (a mausoleum, pit graves and jar burials). A large refuse pit dating to the end of the Byzantine period was exposed in Area C.
Area A (Fig. 3). A structure built of roughly hewn stones, identified as a field tower, was exposed. It consisted of two construction phases dating to the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. A shift in the ground was apparent in the cross-section of the building, which is characteristic of structures founded on shifting sand dunes. Other discoveries included a partially preserved installation with a threshold stone abutted by two walls; a section of a paved road characterized by a layer of gravel; and a small elliptical refuse pit. Worn pottery sherds were found in the area along with several pieces of glass slag and other glass production debris.
Area A1 (Fig. 4). Several plastered installations were exposed, including round and square collecting vats paved with mosaics. The vats were part of a winepress in which two construction phases from the Byzantine period were discerned. In the early phase, the press included two small, round collecting vats; in the later phase it was expanded to three large vats, one rounded and the other two—square. The walls of the winepress were built of medium-sized kurkar stones bonded with grayish white mortar. The winepress had a treading floor, close to surface level, which was apparently destroyed by later activity. In the southern part of the area, several sections of a work surface built of medium-sized fieldstones, probably dating from the Byzantine or Early Islamic period, were exposed. A single pit grave excavated in the center of the area was aligned in an east–west direction and is identified as a Bedouin grave.
Area A2 (Fig. 5). A structure built of roughly hewn stones set on a foundation of small fieldstones was exposed. The building, identified as a field tower, included two construction phases. Two Bedouin pit graves aligned along an east–west axis were excavated next to the tower. Two small refuse pits were exposed beneath the collapsed stones of the field tower. In a recess hewn in the kurkar bedrock, pottery sherds dating to the Persian period were discovered, probably representing the remains of another burial that did not survive.
Area A3. A mausoleum was exposed; only the plastered floor and the remains of three burial troughs survived (Fig. 6). Its walls were built of roughly hewn limestone blocks, and its foundation was constructed of fieldstones. Pottery sherds dating to the Late Roman or Early Byzantine period were found in the building and its immediate vicinity. Thus, this structure most likely dates to these periods.
Area A4. Glass industrial waste was uncovered near the surface.
Area B. A stone chalice was found in the northeastern part of the area. The area also yielded Byzantine-period pottery sherds.
Area C. A refuse pit (diam. in excess of 30 m; Fig. 7) dating to the Late Byzantine period was exposed. The stratification in the area was uniform: a surface layer of sand covered a layer of potsherds (maximal thickness c 1 m) and an underlying layer of alluvium. The pit contained numerous artifacts, including pottery vessels, glass sherds, glass industrial waste, metal objects and animal bones, as well as more than 200 complete Samaritan oil lamps and more than 700 coins. Although the refuse pit is attributed to the second half of the Byzantine period, parts of it may have been used for short periods of time within this period.
Area C2. The excavation yielded a wall built on virgin soil and aligned in a north–south direction. Pottery dating to the Byzantine period was found alongside it.
Area D. A stone-built installation and a hearth constructed of small fieldstones were exposed.
Area D1. Remains of a winepress were exposed, consisting of a section of a treading floor and two square, plastered vats situated to the west of the floor (Fig. 8). The northern one was a shallow settling vat, from which liquid flowed through a plastered channel to the southern one, which was a deep collecting vat with a sump in its floor. Anomalies in the bedrock and rock-cut installations, the functions of which are unclear, were also exposed in the area.
Area D2. Remains of four poorly preserved jars, probably used for jar burials, were found. Although randomly scattered throughout the area, the jars were interred along a north–south axis (Fig. 9). They might have been used for (secondary?) burial, as their skeletal contents did not survive. Part of a kurkar outcrop with small hewn niches was exposed to the west of the jars. A refuse pit dating to the Byzantine period and containing pottery sherds and animal bones was discovered at the northeastern end of the area.
Area D3. A round, plastered collecting vat and the foundation of a treading floor of a poorly preserved winepress were exposed (Fig. 10). Six tombs were found to the west of the winepress. They are dated to the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods on the basis of their contents, their spatial distribution and their construction method.
The paucity of architectural finds despite the scope of the excavations (c. 300 dunams) indicates that the area served as an agricultural and industrial hinterland for the Byzantine settlement at Apollonia (Sozusa). The architectural remains in the area—winepresses, field towers, tombs and other installations—are few; however, based on their distribution it can be assumed that the area was used mainly for growing crops. While the refuse pits were utilized for the disposal of waste from the settlement, their content served as fertilizer to enrich the soil in the nearby fields. Although glass production debris was discovered in the excavation, no kilns were found. It seems that the kilns were located in the immediate vicinity of the Byzantine settlement, and the waste was transferred to the excavation areas for secondary use, as was done with building materials that were found in secondary use in several of the Late Byzantine, Early Islamic and Crusader periods structures. The finds from the excavations and their proximity to the settlement provide us with a deeper view into the relationship between a city and its agricultural hinterland during the Byzantine period.