In February 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at Ha-Qirya in Tel Aviv (Permit No. A-6718; map ref. 180182/664357; Fig. 1) prior to the construction of the Azrieli 2 office tower. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Azrieli Group, was directed by L. Rauchberger (also field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), C. Shiff and D. Golan (preliminary inspections and area preparations), A. Dagot and H. Ben-Ari (GPS), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), N. Zak (plans), A. Gorzalczany (scientific guidance and studio photography), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and A. Buchennino (ceramics). Additional assistance was provided by S. Ben-David of the Azrieli Group Ltd., B. Krantz and D. Avigny of the El-Har Engineering and Construction Company, Ltd., as well as M. Ajami, D. Barkan and E. Jakoel of the IAA.
Building (No. 100; inner dimensions 3.4 × 4.4 m; max. preserved height 0.32 m; Fig. 4). A single room was revealed. Its walls were coated with gray plaster mixed with broken shells. The building was constructed in two phases as evidenced by different mortars used to bond its stones. In its initial phase, its walls were built of kurkar stones bonded with lime-based mortar; afterwards, probably in the wake of a massive destruction that left only its western façade and part of its southern façade (W105, W108) intact, the walls were rebuilt utilizing kurkar stones bonded with red mortar (W106, W107, W118). The building phases are clearly evident in the room’s southern façade, where a wall stump (W108) ascribed to the first phase adjoined W118 of the second phase (Fig. 5). The walls of the second phase were not preserved for their entire length. The room’s doorway was not located; such an opening might have been situated at the curved southern end of W107, but this is conjectural. Another wall (W115; Fig. 6) was incorporated into W105, in the room’s western façade. The southern end of W115 formed a corner with W113. The two walls—the connection between them did not survive—were probably part of another room or space that belonged to the structure’s second building phase. Fragments of Marseilles roof tiles, probably from the building’s roof, were recovered from the sand that filled the room and from the area to its east (L101, L104, L117). The floor was not exposed, but a sand fill (L102) was found, which probably served as a foundation for the floor that did not survive. The walls of the building were founded on black soil devoid of finds.
The finds are ascribed to two phases. The artifacts ascribed to the first phase include roof tiles manufactured in the Roux Frères factory in Marseilles (Fig. 7). Dozens of fragments were found both inside and outside the building, while several pieces were discovered between the stones in the walls (W106, W107, W118). One roof tile fragment came from Italy (Fig. 8). A fragment of a brown glazed ceramic sewer pipe (not drawn) found inside the building; a hollow terracotta brick with square holes (not drawn) was found; as well as a terracotta tile bearing the letters MARS, part of the manufacturer’s mark indicating the tile is from the city of Marseilles (Fig. 9). A meager assemblage of potsherds were found, among them a krater (Fig. 10:1), kizan (Fig. 10:2) and jug/jar (Fig. 10:3). The glass finds from this phase (Fig. 11) include mainly wine bottles, a liqueur bottle made of brown glass bearing an inscription in relief indicating the brand of liqueur (+Benedictine+), other glass bottles and a fragment of a goblet made of white opaque glass. In addition, horseshoes (Fig. 12) and an enameled metal pot (not drawn) were found. These artifacts date to the Late Ottoman period, although it is likely they were also used during the British Mandate period.
Other finds probably date to the last phase of the building’s existence or later. These include soft drink bottles manufactured by the Tassas, Tempo and Crystal factories, all found in a refuse dump exposed southeast of Building 100, along with a large quantity of broken Marseilles roof tiles (L101, L104, L117). Based on the bottles, the dump should be dated between the 1950's and the 1970's CE, during which the building might have been demolished.
Installation (L112; Fig. 13). A square installation (1.2 × 1.2 m) built of small kurkar fieldstones was found c. 2.25 m east of Building 100. Its walls were built of three rows of stones. No bonding material was noted between the stones, apart from a very thin layer of mortar that affixed the stones of the inner row to the row behind them. The installation’s walls were not plastered. Its floor, made of gray lime-based plaster mixed with broken shells applied to a substrate of small stones, sloped to the northwest (Fig. 14). Brown soil, devoid of finds except for a few small stones that probably came from the collapse of its wall, filled the installation. The extant remains were probably part of a larger installation that did not survive intact.
Building 100 was in a very poor state of preservation. The reason it was built utilizing a variety of materials may stem from the need to rebuild it following its destruction. The nature of the construction and its materials, particularly the red mortar and fragments of Marseilles roof tiles found inside the walls, allow us to date it to the Late Ottoman period. The reason the mortar was red might be explained by the presence of ground pottery (grog). Grog was an important constituent used in plaster, especially for the sides of pits (Avitsur 1972
:271), but it apparently was also used as mortar for walls of buildings. In excavations reports published to date red mortar is thought to be hamra
; Jakoel and Marcus 2011
). This material has still not been tested scientifically. ;
The location of the building on the grounds of the German colony of Sarona allows us to narrow the timeframe of its construction to the period from the founding of the colony until the end of Ottoman period. A glance at the map of the colony (Glenk, Blaich and Haering 2005:290–291) and an examination of the excavation’s location relative to existing structures slated for preservation suggests that the excavated area was situated on the plot belonging to a Templar family by the name of Knoll, and that Building 100 was one of the family’s houses or a remnant of one of the household’s service buildings. The purpose of Installation 112 is unclear, given that only part of it has survived; it might have functioned as storage or an industrial installation. It is possible that the floor of the installation sloped intentionally because of some activity that was performed on it, but the slope may also be the result of the ground having settled over time. The installation’s elevation is similar to that of the building, and the plaster on its floor resembles that of the building’s walls, suggesting that both elements were contemporary.
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