The Chalcolithic Period
Remains dating to the Chalcolithic period were discovered in the western part of the excavation area. A pit (L103; diam. 0.9 m, depth c. 0.5 m; Figs. 2, 3) was exposed, dug in clay soil and filled with gray earth and Late Chalcolithic potsherds (van den Brink, below), several animal bones (Agha, below), and flint items (Spivak, below). Approximately 5 m south of the pit, level of gray soil (L106) was discovered with an assemblage similar to, albeit smaller than, the one discovered in the pit. The purpose of the pit is unclear. It might have been excavated at first as a storage pit for agricultural produce (thus its fill postdates its use-phase), or it may have been a refuse pit. On the basis of the kind of earth contained in the pit (gray soil with no signs of stratification), we support the latter explanation. The scant pottery vessels and finds that were discarded in it suggest it was used by a small number of individuals (a single family?). The pit and habitation level from the Chalcolithic period are similar to assemblages discovered in previous excavations conducted in and around Yehud. The pit, which was probably used for refuse, suggests that human activity, possibly associated with a settlement, took place near the excavation area in the Chalcolithic period. Remains of activity from the Chalcolithic period northeast of the tell indicate extensive activity in this period.
Edwin C.M. van den Brink
A very small assemblage of 27 diagnostics potsherds dating to the Chalcolithic period was retrieved from two distinct loci (L103, L106). It includes seven rims and a single base fragment of small, coiled and wheel-finished bowls. One bowl has a slightly sinuous contour with an out-folded, red-painted rim (a ‘bell-shaped’ bowl; Fig. 4:1). One restorable bowl is a medium-sized ‘V-shaped’ bowl (Fig. 4:2), as are three additional rim fragments. Another rim belongs to a large ‘V-shaped’ bowl. Also found were three flattened rim fragments of Kraters (Fig. 4:3); one rim of a medium-sized holemouth jar; one red-painted rim/neck fragment of a small, necked jar (Fig. 4:4); a body sherd and handle of a large churn (Fig. 4:5); a horizontally pierced lug-handle belonging to a small vessel (Fig. 4:6); and six sherds with segments of red-painted lines or bands.
Although small and lacking other Chalcolithic diagnostic features, like cornets and bowls on a fenestrated pedestal, the assemblage clearly fits the Ghassulian aspect of the Late Chalcolithic period, as evidenced by the presence of a churn. This small collection is probably contemporaneous with that retrieved from the nearby site on Lugano St. in Yehud (Permit No. A-6526), as the two sites might be part of a single site. Over the years, a number of late Chalcolithic sites have been recovered in the southeast part of Yehud and in neighbouring Or Yehuda (van den Brink, Golan and Shemueli 2001). Their location is probably related to the meandering streambed of Nahal Yehud which runs to their south.
The animal bone assemblage is fairly meager, consisting twelve bones and teeth. The provenance of the remains (L103 and L106) is ascribed to the Chalcolithic period. Ten bones and teeth were identified, nine of which are from L103, and one, a tooth, from L106. The remains belong to cattle, sheep/goat, a pig and a predator the size of a jackal or fox. The four sheep/goat bones included two ribs, one bearing signs of burning, a cervical vertebra and a tooth from the upper jaw. The cattle remains included three metacarpus or metatarsus bones; it was impossible to determine which leg since only small parts of the bones’ distal ends were preserved. One canin was also discovered. Pig is represented by a scapula bearing a cut-mark, an indication of butchering. Part of an incisor that belongs to a 'canine'-type animal is noteworthy as it seems to be polished. Due to the poor state of the tooth’s preservation, it was impossible to determine if it was that of a fox or jackal. Evidence of human activity was noted in this small assemblage in the form of a single cut mark, a burnt bone, and possibly also the polishing marks on one tooth.
The flint assemblage, collected from Pit 103, consisted of twelve items made of gray brown flint of the Mishash formation. The sharpness and the freshness of the items indicate limited post-deposited processes. The assemblage consists of five flakes, four chunks, two pieces of core trimming elements (CTE) were found indicating local bkades production, and a large pounder (5.4 × 6.1 × 8.5 cm). The pounder bears signs of pecking and smoothing on two opposing working edges. With the exception of the pounder, all of the flint items bear distinct signs of burning.
The Ottoman Period
Remains from the Ottoman period were discovered in the eastern part of the excavation area (Figs. 2, 5). These consisted of two rooms, a northern one and southern one, of which only the northern space was fully excavated. The eastern wall (W105) was partially unearthed. Of the other walls only the foundations were preserved (W104, W107, W108). The walls and foundations were built of small–medium sized, roughly hewn kurkar and limestone stones bonded with debesh. The walls were partially damaged by modern activity. The foundation trenches were filled with sand (Fig. 6), probably in order to render stability to the structure’s foundations in dealing with the difficulties of building in clay. Sherds characteristic of the Ottoman period were gathered from the accumulation above the building and next to its foundations (L112, L113). These include the rim of a deep bowl (Fig. 4:7) made of brown-orange clay with few small white grits, as well as a jar rim (Fig. 4:8) and a juglet rim (Fig. 4:9) of gray and black Gaza ware. The poor preservation of the building and lack of floors make it difficult to determine the function of the structure.
The building remains that were discovered almost certainly belonged to the Arab village that developed in Yehud during the Ottoman period. Its relative distance from the middle of the village (what is today the center of Yehud) seems to suggest its connection to agricultural activity that took place along the outskirts of the village.
The excavation finds contribute to our understanding of the regional division of the settlement in the Chalcolithic and Ottoman periods in Yehud. The excavation’s importance stems from, among other things, its location, as it is the northeastern-most excavation from the tell to be conducted to date in Yehud. The study of the region contributes to our understanding of the center and periphery of Yehud in antiquity.