The abandoned Arab village el-Masmiyya el-Kabira and its surroundings were surveyed in the past (Sion, Barda and Shemesh 2017: Site 9, and see there background and references [in Hebrew]). About 1 km northeast of the excavation, within the ruins of the village, remains from the Abbasid and Ottoman periods were excavated (Fig 1: A-8108; Mamalya 2021).
The excavation was conducted at 13 find-points where traces of activity were identified (F5, F9, F29, F42, F51, F54, F64, F65, F67, F69, F73, F74, F83; Fig. 2); these included habitation levels, installations, walls and refuse pits. The ceramic finds were dated to the late Byzantine and Ottoman–British Mandate periods.
F5 and F9. Two segments of the foundations of a wall (W106, W116; Figs. 3, 4) and remains of the foundation of another wall (W104). The soil accumulation over W116 (L122) contained potsherds, mainly of Gaza jars (Fig. 5:2), dating from the end of the Byzantine period. Also found were sherds dating from the Ottoman period or the early days of the British Mandate (not drawn).
F29. A refuse pit (L107, L120) with fragments of Gaza jars (Fig. 5:3–5), white tesserae and fired bricks.
F42. A garbage pit (L500; Fig. 6) with fragments of Byzantine-period Gaza jars (Fig. 5:6).
F51 and F54. Remains of poorly preserved installations (Fig. 7). Installation 51 had three walls preserved (W507, W509, W512; Fig. 8), plastered on the outside. A variety of potsherds were found inside, including a casserole (Fig. 5:1), Gaza jars (Fig. 5:7–14), a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 5:18) and eleven ‘sandal’ lamps (Figs. 9, 10), all from the late Byzantine period, as well as a fragment of a Byzantine-period glass vessel (see Fig. 14:2). The walls of Installation 54 (W516, W521, W522) were badly preserved.
F67. A meager scatter of stones and late-Byzantine potsherds (not drawn) at the southeastern edge of the area.
F69. An activity layer (L103) with stones, brick fragments, ashes and potsherds, mainly of Byzantine Gaza jars (Fig. 5:15, 16), as well as a fragment of a glass vessel (see Fig. 14:1).
F73. An activity layer (L126) with a few potsherds, including Byzantine Gaza jars (not drawn) and an Ottoman-period jar (Fig. 5:19).
F74. A surface made of small stones mixed with potsherds (L109; Fig. 11), mainly of Byzantine-period Gaza jars (Fig. 5:17) and one jar sunk in the ground (not illustrated).
F83. Foundations of a wall (W508; Figs. 12, 13), over which modern concrete slabs were placed. No datable finds were retrieved.
Twelve fragments of glass vessels were found, all dating from the Byzantine period, based on typology and the quality of glass (Fig. 14).
The fragment in Fig. 14:1 (L103, B1007) is a hollow, high ring base of a bowl broken in the middle. In such bases the bottom is usually pressed inside and thickened by the pontil scar. The bowl is covered by iridescent weathering. This is the commonest bowl type in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (for parallels from Kh. el-Ni‘ana, see Gorin-Rosen and Katsnelson 2007:86–88, 132–134, Figs. 6:3, 6; 30:1, 2). A similar base was found in a Byzantine-period fill in Ashqelon (Katsnelson 1999:69*, Fig. 1:8), and such bowls are known from many other sites.
The fragment in Fig. 14:2 (L501, B2023) is made of bluish glass, covered by iridescent weathering. It is the concave base of a bottle or large jar. Such bases are very common from the Late Roman to the Umayyad periods and differ mainly in the form of the complete vessel, the quality of glass and their workmanship.
A fragment of a pinched trefoil-shaped rim found in the same locus (L501, not drawn) belongs to a bottle or juglet. By the quality of the glass, it can be attributed to the late Byzantine or Umayyad periods. A similar juglet from the Umayyad period was found in Ashqelon (Gorin-Rosen 2020: Fig. 11:8). Umayyad-period finds were exposed in a previous salvage excavation at el-Masmiyya el-Kabira (Katsnelson 2021).