Stratum IV. Three walls: W6 in the west, W9 and W10 in the east, and the bedding of a floor (L16) were discovered. Wall 6, oriented north–south, was survived by a section of its foundation course (length 1 m, width 0.65 m), which incorporated the natural bedrock that was hewn accordingly. A preserved section of a pebble floor’s bedding (L16; 1.1 × 1.1 m) abutted W6 from the east. The floor continued to the southwest beneath a later wall (W3) that belonged to Stratum III. A probe conducted below Floor L16 did not reveal any diagnostic potsherds that could indicate its date, as well as that of W6.
Walls 9 and 10, preserved a single course high, formed the southwestern corner of a building (L26). Wall 9, exposed over a distance of 3.5 m, continued beneath two later walls (W11 and W4), belonging to Strata III. The western face of W9 was not exposed, except for one stone at the northern end where the wall was 1.4 m wide. The eastern face of W9 consisted of medium and large stones, carelessly dressed, with soil between them. Wall 10 (width 1.35 m) was exposed for a length of 4.8 m and continued west below W11 of Stratum III and east beyond the excavation area. It was constructed from a line of large carelessly dressed stones and soil in-between. As no floor abutted Walls 9 and 10, it was impossible to date them.
Although no direct evidence for dating Stratum IV was found, it can be said with certainty that its remains predated the first century BCE, which is the date of Stratum III. The two earliest lamps at the site were discovered below Floor L21 in Stratum III. One was a folded lamp common to the Hasmonean period (Fig. 2:1) and the second––a wheel-made lamp, dating from the end of the second century BCE to the beginning of the first century BCE (Fig. 2:2). Consequently, it seems that a settlement existed at the site during the Hellenistic period and perhaps the remains from Stratum IV should be ascribed to it.
Stratum III. Four walls that enclosed a square space (L20, L21) were attributed to this stratum. Wall 4 was in the north, W5 in the south, W3 in the west and W11 in the east. Wall 4, preserved a single course high (width 1.8–2.1 m, exposed length 12 m), was damaged and cut prior to the excavation, although its continuation further east and west, beyond the limits of the excavation area, is clear. Its northern side was built of large dressed stones and the southern side consisted of carelessly dressed medium-sized stones. A fill of soil, as well as small- and medium-sized fieldstones was inserted in the spaces between. Walls 3 and 5 formed a corner. Wall 5 (width c. 0.8 m, exposed length 4.9 m), preserved four courses high, was built similar to W4. The eastern side and the northern end of W3 were damaged before the excavation. The wall was preserved a single course high, for a length of 2.5 m, and its width could be reconstructed (c. 0.7–0.8 m). Wall 11, which formed a corner with Wall 4, was only partially exposed (length 3 m, width 0.85 m); Wall 2 of Stratum II, extended above it. It was preserved a single course high and built of two rows of large and medium-sized stones, with a core of medium and small fieldstones and soil.
Two floors, one above the other and abutting Walls 3, 5 and 11, were identified in the space enclosed within the four walls. A white plaster floor (L21; thickness 2–3 cm) was used in the early phase. A burnt layer (thickness 2–4 cm) covered it and was overlain with a beaten-earth floor (L20). Beneath the bottom floor (L21) were five fragments of diagnostic pottery, including a bowl (Fig. 2:4) and two cooking pots (Fig. 2:5, 6), dating to the first century CE, as well as two lamps, described above, which are dated to the second–first centuries BCE (Fig. 2:1, 2). A juglet fragment characteristic of the first century CE (Fig. 2:7) and a red-slipped sherd (Fig. 2:3) that may be a fragment of a figurine or of a dolphin-type lamp, characteristic of the second–first centuries BCE, were discovered below the upper floor (L20). The finds below the two floors indicate that they should be dated to the first century CE.
Stratum II. Wall 2 was built on top of W11 from Stratum III. The wall (width 0.65–0.90 m, preserved length 2 m) followed along the line of W11, but its northern end deviated to the west. A floor (L7) of small and medium-sized fieldstones abutted W2 from the east. A small section of another floor (L17; 0.8 ´ 1.0 m) was attributed to this stratum on account of its elevation, which was similar to that of Floor 7. Floor L17 overlaid the top of Floor 20 from Stratum III and abutted W5 of Stratum III; however, it is unclear if W5 was reused or the builders of the floor incorporated the stones of W5 top course into the construction of the floor.
Below Floor 7 were two diagnostic pottery fragments: a jug from the first century CE (Fig. 2:8) and the rim of a cooking pot (Fig. 2: 9) that dated from the first century BCE to the first century CE. The fill below L17 contained pottery vessels from the Early Roman period (first century BCE to the beginning of the second century CE), including cooking pots (Fig. 2:10–12), a jar (Fig. 2:15) and two juglet rims (Fig. 2:16, 17). Other finds in the fill were a fragment of a soft white limestone bowl (Fig. ), characteristic of the Second Temple period, and fragments of two cooking pots from the Byzantine period (Fig. , 14). These finds point to a date in the Byzantine period for Floor L17.
Stratum I. Wall 1, oriented east–west, was built on top of Floor L17 of Stratum II and on top of W3 from Stratum III. The eastern end of the wall was damaged before the excavation. The wall (width 0.4–0.6 m, exposed length 3.1 m) was preserved a single course high and continued west, beyond the excavation area. It consisted of a row of medium-sized stones and a stone from the southern end of W3 was incorporated into it. The small fieldstone bedding of a floor (L11 in the west, L12 in the south) that overlaid the top of W3 and W5 abutted the wall from the south.
The finds discovered below Floor 11 included the rim of a jar from the Herodian period (Fig. 3:7), two bowls (Fig. 3:1, 2) and a lamp fragment (Fig. 3:8) from the Byzantine period. The stratum should therefore be dated to the Byzantine period. The finds above Floor 11 included a cup-like bowl with two vertical handles and a red-slipped rim, dating to the Herodian period (Fig. 3:5), two bowls from the Byzantine period (Fig. 3:3, 4), the rim of a Gaza-type jar that was in vogue during the Byzantine and Umayyad periods (Fig. 3:6) and a lamp fragment that was dated to the end of the Byzantine period and the Umayyad period (Fig. 3:9). The assemblage dated the last settlement phase at the site to the Byzantine period and possibly to the beginning of the Umayyad period as well.
Cave. An entry that accessed a cave and was flanked by two perpendicular walls (W8 in the north and W7 in the east), which abutted the natural bedrock, was discovered north of W4. A section of W8 survived (length 1.9 m, width 0.5–0.7 m) and only the southern section of W7 (presumed length c. 1.5 m, width 0.55 m) was preserved. The cave was not completely excavated and its use was unclear. It contained an assemblage of numerous cooking pots that belonged to the Roman period (first century BCE –second century CE) and the Byzantine period, as well as fragments of stone vessels characteristic of the Second Temple period. It seems the cave was a refuse pit in the Byzantine period, when the area was cleared of the Roman settlement remains that preceded it.