In September 2019, an excavation took place on Arlozorov (Arlozoroff) Street, on the corner of Ibn Gabirol Street in Tel Aviv (Summeil; Permit No. A-8587; map ref. 179591–624/665858–906; Fig. 1), prior to construction of a wall. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Africa Israel Corporation, was directed by I. Radashkovsky, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), R. Hofein (preliminary inspection), M. Kahan (surveys and drafting), A. Dagot (GPS), Z. Turgeman-Yaffe (archaeozoology), D. Porotsky (plans), A. Buchennino (pottery), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), C. Amit (photography of finds) and L. Rauchberger (smoking pipe), as well as Y. Tepper, D. Abu-Salah and Y. Arbel (consultation).
The excavation area lies in the heart of Tel Aviv, on the western slope of a hill on the first kurkar ridge east of the coastline. Until 1948, the Arab village of Summeil stood on this spot (Grossman 2009); remains of structures from the village can still be seen nearby. Remains of buildings from the late Ottoman and the British Mandate periods were uncovered in 2016 east of the excavation area (Elad 2019, and see further references therein).
The present excavation revealed three round, vertical shafts cut into the kurkar rock(F1–F3; Fig. 2). Shaft 1 (diam. 1.7 m, depth 1 m) contained rather soft soil mixed with stones. Shaft 2 (1.3 × 1.4 m, depth 1.2 m; Fig. 3) contained hard clay soil. In a probe excavated in Shaft 2 no stratification was discerned. Shaft 3 was smaller and shallower than the others (diam. 1 m, depth 0.2 m; Fig. 4), and it contained compact gray soil. At the bottom of Shaft 3 were two round, rock-cut or possibly natural depressions (L12, L13; diam. 0.1 m) of unclear use. Pottery sherds discovered in Shafts 1 and 2 were dated mainly to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries CE as well as animal bones.
Aviva Buchennino and Lior Rauchberger
The pottery from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries found in Shafts 1 and 2, includes both local and imported artifacts. Among the local vessels are bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), one of which (Fig. 5:1) was used as a butter bowl (zabadiyeh; Fig. 5:3); a casserole for preparing bread dough; a mortar for crushing coffee beans, spices and various plants (Fig. 5:4); jars for various purposes (Fig. 5:5–10), including for channeling water (sabil; Fig. 5:6), carrying grain and conserving fruit (jara; Fig. 5:7; Israel 2006:90) and for storage of leben and clarified butter (burniyeh; Fig. 5:10); and jugs (Fig. 5:11, 12), one of which was earlier than the rest (Fig. 5:11)—from the late eighteenth century CE. A smoking pipe (chibouk; Fig. 5:13) was also found. It was made of black burnished clay and has a faceted shank with eight facets and a rouletted decoration at the upper end, under the termination ring that did not survive. The faceted shank indicates that the pipe should be attributed to a group of pipes from Corinth dated to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (Robinson 1985:164, Types C-33, C-78), although its size and bowl shape differ from those in that group.
The imported vessels include drip-painted bowls dated to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries CE (Fig. 6:1, 2); a bowl from Çanakkale in Turkey (Fig. 6:3) from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries CE; and a base of a faience bowl (Figs. 6:4; 7) from Sarreguemines in France, bearing as inscription on the bottom: “Opaque de Sarreguemines Faience”.
The faunal assemblage from the excavation included 18 identified bones (see Appendix). Most of the bones were identified to the species level, but some were identified by size (medium-sized mammal = goat/sheep). The most common species in the assemblage is goat or sheep (Ovis aries/Capra hircus; MNI = 2, one young and one adult; 56% of the assemblage). The second most common species is a medium-sized mammal (22% of the assemblage). One rooster (Gallus gallus) was identified, represented by three bones (17% of the assemblage), as well as a single donkey bone (Equus asinus; 5% of the assemblage).
The assemblage of faunal remains from the excavation contains only domesticated species, without evidence of hunting, but the modest size of the assemblage precludes any analysis of selection by or preferences of the inhabitants.
The three rock-cut shafts containing pottery finds from the late Ottoman period and animal bones were probably used by the inhabitants of Summeil as refuse pits. Similar shafts unearthed in excavations at the site of esh-Sheikh Munis in Ramat Aviv were interpreted as cesspits (Dayan, Ajami and Nagar 2012; Jonish 2020). It is possible that the pits had other uses, and therefore further research is needed.
Dayan A., Ajami M. and Nagar Y. 2012. Tel Aviv, esh-Sheikh Munis. HA-ESI 124.
Grossman D. 2009. The ‘Tel Aviv District’ Settlements in the Ottoman Period—the Village, the Economy and Customs. In E. Ayalon ed. The Secret History of Tel-Aviv: What Happened Here in the Last 20,000 Years? Tel Aviv. Pp. 153–176 (Hebrew).
Israel Y.M. 2006. The Black Gaza Ware from the Ottoman Period. Ph.D. diss. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Be’er Sheva‘ (Hebrew; English summary, pp. IV–XII).
Jonish I. 2020. Tel Aviv, esh-Sheikh Munis. HA-ESI 132.
Robinson R.C.W. 1985. Tobacco Pipes of Corinth and of the Athenian Agora. Hesperia 54:149–203.