From 1991 to 1995, underwater surveys of the southern shore of Haifa (Kafr Samir; License Nos. G-26/1992; G-21/1994; map ref. NIG 19616/74442; OIG 14616/24442), were conducted. The surveys, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, were directed by E. Galili and J. Sharvit of the IAA Maritime Archaeological Unit, with the assistance of S. Ben Yehuda (drawing and drafting), T. Sagiv (photography), M. Rasovsky (treatment of organic material) and E. Boaretto of the Weizmann Institute (Carbon 14 dating).
Vegetal artifacts, which originated in the inundated remains of a prehistoric settlement, were exposed. The finds were mapped, documented, removed from the sea and transferred to the laboratories of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for treatment.
During the winter of 1991, a pavement section of small unworked stones (5–7 cm) was exposed on the clay seabed of the Kafr Samir site, at a depth of 0.5 m and 15 m from the shoreline. A fragment of a pot-shaped wooden bowl (rim diam. c. 0.2 m, base diam. c. 0.16 m, height c. 0.22 m; Fig. 1), survived by part of the flat base, the straight wall that is slightly inverted and a section of the rim (Fig. 2), was discovered on the pavement. An elongated knob handle (c. 8 cm long, c. 2 cm wide) on the upper part of the wall is perpendicular to the rim and has a narrow lateral perforation (diam. c. 5 mm). A complete bowl of carob wood had been found in the past, c. 300 m to the south (ESI 10:163).
During the winter of 1994, a pit (diam. 0.9 m, depth 0.55 m) that was cut into the clay seabed was exposed at a depth of 2.3 m, c. 65 m west of the paved section. The excavation of the pit uncovered soft gray clay, which contained waterlogged pieces of braided tree branches (Fig. 3) and dozens of olive pits. The three braiding pieces, made of thin branches (diam. 3–5 m), were probably parts of a vessel that fell apart. One of the braiding pieces is round (Fig. 4: A) and seems to be the base of the vessel; the other two (Fig. 4: B, C) probably come from its walls. The braiding used the method of alternate pair twining. The warps emerge from the center of the base, perpendicular to its rim and parallel to each other. The wefts are alternately twined around two warps and cross over after each pass (Fig. 5). In several places the wefts are twined around three warps or only around a single warp. Usually the warps are made of one branch; however, in a few places they consist of a pair of thin branches next to each other. It seems that the braiding is the remains of a receptacle or a basket (‘aqal; diam. over 0.3 m) used for pressing olives in the production of oil. The braiding was dated by Carbon 14 to 5000–4730 BCE (calibrated date; Sample RT 4689).
An installation for producing olive oil was exposed several dozen meters to the south of the pit. It contained olive-oil extraction that consisted of thousands of crushed olive pits (ESI 13:31–32). The Carbon 14 dates of the braiding and of the olive pits indicate that the finds should be ascribed to the first half of the fifth millennium BCE––the Pottery Neolithic period and the Wadi Rabah culture.