Table 1. Area A: Numismatic finds

Ruler

Mint

Date

Type

IAA No.

Aretus IV

 

9 BCE–40 CE

Double cornucopia

88493

Augustus Festus Procurator

Jerusalem

59 CE

Palm branch

88492

Barquq (first reign)

Damascus

1382–1389 CE

Star of David

88495

Barquq (second reign)

Tripolis

1390–1399 CE

Inscription

88496

The finds from the excavation were mixed; no sealed loci were discerned and therefore, it was impossible to ascertain the time when the structure was built. It is however, reasonable to assume that the structure was built during the 1st–4th centuries CE, since most of the finds in the area were ascribed to this time, and probably at the beginning of the period as implied by the coins from the Early Roman period. Possibly later, in the Late Roman period, the site continued to serve for burial or for cultic rituals that were associated with the process. The scant ceramic finds from the Hellenistic period may indicate a possible agricultural activity that preceded the construction at the site.

  

In the past, M. Hartal found a similar burial compound in Banias, c. 1 km northeast of the site. There were seven parallel, rectangular burial cells aligned north–south; the cells were plundered and contained a few finds dating to the 3rd–4th centuries CE (ESI 16:5–7). The two compounds demonstrate a tradition of magnificent funerary structures that existed in the region during the Roman period. It should be noted that numerous burial caves and hewn cist graves that belonged to the large, Roman-period cemetery of Banias had previously been discovered on the slope of the hill, to the west of the excavation area.

 

Some 70 m north of Area A, several architectural elements, including the fragment of a decorated monumental pediment and column drums were recovered from a stone clearance heap that was piled up in the 1970s. These elements join others that were collected in the vicinity in the past, and since it was an extensive burial ground it seems these elements belonged to a mausoleum that has yet to be located.

 

Area B (Fig. 4). Remains of a wall (W600) and several floors that had at least two construction phases were unearthed. The wall (exposed length 5 m, width 0.6 m) was built of dressed travertine blocks and preserved a single course high (0.3 m). In the early phase the wall was built of a single row of stones (W600A). To this phase two pebble floors were also ascribed; one floor (L55) was c. 5 cm lower than the other (Loci 54, 56) and apparently earlier as well. The upper floor was probably a repair of the lower one. The remains of the early phase seem to belong to a pool that may have been used for storing water. In the later phase the wall was made thicker by adding another row of stones (W600B), which damaged the pebble floors. A floor of soil and small stones traced in several places above the upper pebble floor, and a square stone that was probably used as a column base were attributed to the late phase. It seems that in this phase another building, whose function remains unclear, was constructed in this spot.

 

No ceramic finds were found on the floors. The soil fill that covered the building remains contained a few fragments of pottery vessels from the Hellenistic period and many from the 1st–2nd centuries CE, including a bowl (Fig. 3:22) and a cooking pot (Fig. 3:23), as well as three bronze coins (Table 2), one from the 1st century CE, the second from the 2nd century CE and the third was illegible. Judging by the finds it seems that both phases of the building dated to the 1st–2nd centuries CE.

 

Table 2.  Area B: Numismatic finds

Ruler

Mint

Date

Type

IAA No.

Autonomous

Paneas

169 (?) CE

Syrinx Pipes of Pan

88494

Autonomous

Sidon

1st century CE

War galley

88497