During September 2006, a salvage excavation was conducted in Ramat Yishay (Permit No. A-4895; map ref. 216165–230/734600–57), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Yesodot Ha-‘Emeq Company, Ltd., was directed by B. Hanna, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), H. Smithline (field photography) and E.J. Stern (pottery).
The excavation was carried out near the Ottoman khan, on the western slope of the hill where the older part of Ramat Yishay is built (Fig. 1). Previous excavations were conducted in the surrounding area (HA-ESI 117
; HA-ESI 119
; HA-ESI 120
; HA-ESI 122
) where remains from the following periods: Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic, Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman, were uncovered. Ruins of a large settlement and potsherds dating from the Roman to the Ottoman periods were documented in a survey that had previously been performed nearby (Map of Nahalal ,
Two squares (1, 2; Figs. 2, 3) were excavated c. 20 m apart. A quarry ascribed to the Roman period (Stratum VII) was discovered in Square 1 and architectural remains from the Umayyad and Abbasid periods (Strata V and IV respectively), as well as a refuse pit from the Mamluk period (Stratum II) were exposed in Square 2.
Stratum VII (Roman period). Part of a quarry for hewing ashlars (dimensions: 0.2–0.6×0.5–1.0×0.8–1.0 m) was exposed in Square 1. The negatives of the hewn stones detached from the quarry were clearly visible. After the quarry was no longer used, it was filled with stone dressing debris and alluvium; this fill contained potsherds dating to the Roman period.
Stratum V (Umayyad period). Remains of a wall and a floor (W11, L110; Figs. 3, 4) were exposed in Square 2. The wall (exposed length 1.8 m, max. preserved height 0.54 m) was built of limestone ashlars and was aligned north–south. It was founded on a layer of fill that contained potsherds from the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. The floor, composed of mud-brick material, ash, small stones and tamped potsherds from the Umayyad period, abutted the wall from the east.
Stratum IV (Abbasid period). Two parallel walls with a floor between them (W10, W12, L105; Figs. 3, 5) were exposed in Square 2. The two walls (each c. 0.35 m wide, max. preserved height 0.9 m) were built of limestone ashlars. Fieldstones and crushed chalk composed the floor. The walls and floor were founded on soil fill and small stones that contained potsherds from the Byzantine, Umayyad and Abbasid periods. A layer of soil that contained potsherds from the Abbasid period was exposed on the floor.
Stratum II (Mamluk period). Two refuse pits (diam. of each pit c. 2.3 m), dug into Strata IV and V, were partially exposed in Square 2. The pits were filled with layers of soil debris, small stones, ash and potsherds from the Roman, Umayyad, Abbasid and Mamluk periods.