Pits (Areas I, II)
Five circular pits (L32–L36), hewn in kurkar bedrock and probably used as cesspits, were exposed in Area I. Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods were discovered in the pits, including a rim of a handmade holemouth jar dating to the end of the Mamluk period (Fig. 3:1), a locally produced Gaza ware type bowl dating to the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE (Fig. 3:2), imported bowls from Thrace in Bulgaria from the second half of the nineteenth centuries CE (Fig. 3:3), a porcelain bowl dating to the nineteenth century CE (Fig. 3:4) and a lamp from the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE (Fig. 3:5).
Other finds in the pits were fragments of glass bracelets. These include different types that have a flat or triangular cross-section, as well as a bracelet of dark opaque glass, which is characteristic of the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. One of the bracelet fragments is decorated with thin trails interwoven at the ends, the likes of which were produced in Hebron in the Late Ottoman period (Spaer, M. 1992. Islamic Glass Bracelets of Palestine: Preliminary Findings. Journal of Glass Studies 34:55).
A circular pit, probably also a cesspit hewn in the kurkar bedrock (L30; diam. 1.72 m, excavated depth 1 m) was exposed in Area II. The pit contained gray soil and fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Ottoman period (not drawn). Another pit (L29) hewn in the kurkar bedrock was exposed south of Pit 30; its use is unclear and it contained gray soil and modern finds. A modern rock-cutting (L31) was uncovered north of Pit 30.
Tombs (Area III)
Twenty-six tombs hewn in kurkar bedrock were excavated (Fig. 4); two were cist tombs lined with kurkar slabs (L20, L21), one was a cist tomb lined with basalt slabs (L25) and twenty-three were pit graves without stone lining. All the tombs were aligned east–west. Remains of at least one interred individual were discovered in each of the tombs. The heads of the deceased were placed at the western end of the grave, facing south. It seems that these were Muslim graves.
Tomb 20 (0.35×1.90 m). The northern, eastern and western sides were lined with kurkar slabs. The kurkar slab that lined the northern side was preserved in its entirety (length 0.7 m, thickness c. 0.1 m, height c. 0.3 m), whereas the other two slabs were broken. The tomb contained sand fill to the level of the bones (depth 0.3–0.4 m below the surface). One individual was found. The bottom part of the skeleton was discovered in an articulated position. The deceased was identified as a male, 18–30 years of age.
Tomb 21 (0.4×1.8 m). The western part of the tomb was lined with kurkar slabs (length 0.3–0.4 m, thickness 8–9 cm). The tomb contained sand fill to the level of the bones (depth 0.35 m below the surface). One individual was discovered and identified as a female, 20–30 years of age. She was placed on her right side. One roughly hewn kurkar covering stone was also discovered in situ. The lower part of the stone was straight and its upper part was rounded.
Tomb 25. The tomb was lined with fragments of a large basalt vessel that was originally used for grinding flour.One individual, identified as 18–25 years of age, was discovered placed in a supine position.
Tomb 1 (Fig. 5). The tomb contained hamra fill. One individual, identified as 20–30 years of age, was discovered placed on its right side.
Tomb 2. The tomb contained hamra fill. One individual, identified as older than 20 years of age, was discovered
Tomb 3. The tomb contained hamra fill. One individual, identified as a male 20–30 years of age, was discovered.
Tomb 4. The shape of the tomb was unclear and it contained hamra fill. At a depth of c. 0.5 m below the surface one individual, identified as 30–50 years of age, was discovered. The tomb was covered with different size kurkar stones. Fragments of Marseilles tiles were discovered in the fill above the tomb.
Tomb 5. The tomb contained hamra fill. Remains of two individuals were discovered. One was positioned on the right side in anatomical articulation, which is indicative of a primary burial. This individual was identified as 18–25 years of age. The bones of the other deceased were discovered in a heap in the middle of the tomb, indicating a secondary burial. This individual was identified as a male, older than 30 years of age. These bones were probably cleared from an adjacent tomb.
Tomb 6. The tomb contained hamra fill.One individual, identified as 15–17 years of age, was discovered.
Tomb 7–8. The tomb contained hamra fill.One individual, identified as a female 20–30 years of age, was discovered. A bundle of linen threads (diam. c. 1 cm; Fig. 6) was discovered in the tomb. The threads were not dyed and of cream color. They were Z-spun, which is not characteristic of the weaving technique in the country during this period. There are green dots of metallic corrosion on the bundle of threads, whichprobably belonged to a textile bead. A similar item was discovered in an excavation at Kefar Sava (‘Atiqot 61:91, Fig. 9).
Tomb 9. The tomb contained hamra fill. Remains of one individual, identified as 15–20 years of age, were discovered.
Tomb 10. The tomb was located in the eastern balk of the excavation, beyond the limits of the excavation. Skull fragments of a male individual older than 20 years of age were discovered.
Tomb 11. The shape of the tomb was unclear and it contained hamra fill. Scattered bones of one individual, identified as a child 2–4 years of age, were discovered. A bead and glass fragments, probably of a bracelet, were discovered in the tomb.
Tomb 12. The shape of the tomb was unclear and it contained hamra fill. Scattered bones of one individual, identified as greater than 60 years of age, were discovered.
Tomb 13. The tomb contained hamra fill.One individual was discovered; the age and sex estimation of the deceased is unclear, but it is definitely not an infant.
Tomb 14-15. The tomb contained hamra fill.One individual, identified as 20–30 years of age, was discovered in a supine position.
Tomb 16. The shape of the tomb was unclear; it contained hamra fill and a single skull was discovered. The tomb was not excavated because it was located beyond the excavation limits.
Tomb 17. The tomb contained hamra fill. One individual and a bead were discovered. The tomb (L204) was probably damaged by three barrels, used as septic tanks in modern times (L205). A fragment of a Marseilles roof tile was discovered in the fill above the tomb.
Tomb 18. The shape of the tomb was unclear; it contained hamra fill and a single individual, identified as a child 5–6 years of age, was discovered.
Tomb 19 (0.5–0.6×1.7 m). The upper part of the tomb was not entirely preserved and the outline of the grave was unclear. The tomb contained sand fill mixed with sections of kurkar sandstone. One individual, placed on its right side at a depth of 0.25 m below the top of the rock-cutting, was discovered. The deceased was identified as a female 20–30 years of age. Collapsed kurkar covering slabs were discovered in the middle of the tomb. A complete earring (Fig. 7) and dozens of different size beads made of various materials were found next to the skull. The earring is made of an alloy composed of equal parts of gold and silver. This is a thick hoop earring that has a thin loop-like clasp. On its bottom part is a coil-like decoration of tiny balls soldered together to form a flowerand on the bottom of the coil is a larger ball that closes the structure. Similar earrings are known in the Land of Israel from the twelfth–ninth centuries BCE, when they are made of gold, silver and bronze. These earrings are characterized by a hoop decorated on its lower end with tiny balls soldered together, sometimes with a large ball at the end of the decoration. A similar type of earring, made solely of gold, appears in the Roman period (second–third centuries CE). It is unclear if the earring discovered in the excavation is an ancient one that was found during the Ottoman period and reused, or is it an earring that was made as an imitation of ancient earrings? The beads, probably part of a necklace, are made of glass and semi-precious stones. The glass beads are tiny, spherical or cylindrical, and are made of white, blue, green and grayish black glass. Some of the beads are made of amber and have a round or flat shape; they are light weight and covered with a thick layer of incrustation. Two of the beads are jade, ribbed and perforated in their center. One of the beads is carnelian and is spherical. Other beads are made of other semi-precious stones of various crystal shapes.
Tomb 22-23. The shape of the tomb was unclear and it contained hamra fill. A few crumbs of bones were discovered and although the age and sex are unclear, the deceased is an adult individual.
Tomb 24. The tomb contained hamra fill. Remains of a single individual, identified as 18–25 years of age, were discovered.
Tomb 26. The tomb contained hamra fill.One individual, placed on its right side and identified as a child 7–9 years of age, was discovered.
Tomb 27. The tomb contained hamra fill.One individual, identified as a male 20–30 years of age, was discovered.
Tomb 28. The shape of the tomb was unclear and no bones were discovered.
Tomb 37. The tomb contained hamra fill. One burial was discovered, but was not inspected. The tomb was covered with stone slabs (thickness 0.3–0.4 m; Fig. 8). Two copper rings were discovered on one of the fingers of the deceased and two fragments of a ring were lying alongside the hand (Figs. 9, 10). The rings are round hoops and remains of a metal sheet are visible in the center of two of them. Thin hoop rings are characteristic of the Late Ottoman period. A small piece of textile (0.5×1.0 cm; Fig. 11) attached to a bronze ring was discovered in the tomb; the textile was preserved thanks to the corrosion of the metal. The textile is made of undyed linen (it is brown today), is Z-spun, c. 12 threads per sq cm and of medium spinning. The traditional spinning in Israel was S-spun and therefore it is assumed that the textile was imported. The weaving is a plain weave, which is fairly common. The textile probably belonged to a shroud.
Six hewn cesspits, which contained ceramic finds dating to the Late Mamluk and Ottoman periods, were discovered in the excavation. The finds from the Mamluk period might indicate the presence of a settlement during this period. The finds from the Ottoman period date the final use of the pits. Although the exposed tombs were poorly preserved, the original burial offerings were identified in most of them. All the deceased were placed in an east–west direction, with the head in the west, facing south. Five of the interred were positioned on their right side and two were supine. This position is characteristic of burial amongst Muslim populations. A Muslim burial usually has one individual interred in each grave. One of the tombs exposed in the excavation contained a primary burial and next to it, a secondary burial. A similar burial is known from the late Muslim cemetery in Yafo, at the Qishle site, and it was probably the result of clearing out old tombs for reuse. Twenty-six deceased were discovered in the graves and children, adolescents and adults were identified. At least five males and three females were identified among the adults. The deceased breakdown of age (Table 1) shows that most of the interred are individuals 20–30 years of age. The ages of some of the deceased are not precise, but they were identified as adults. The graves can be dated to the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE based on a bracelet fragment in one of the tombs. Several fragments of Marseilles roof tiles were discovered in the fill above the graves, possibly indicating that the cemetery was damaged by construction during the British Mandate era.
Table 1. Breakdown of age of the deceased at the site.