Walls (W1–W6, thickness c. 0.3–0.4 m) built of dressed or roughly hewn kurkar stones and a few fieldstones and bonded with mortar were exposed in two squares (D, E). White plaster was applied to most of the walls, with the exception of Walls 5 and 6, which bear the remains of colored plaster that is mostly blue and green. Floors of gray plaster or tamped earth abutted the walls. The floors were mostly founded on a tamped earth surface placed on fill mixed with stone collapse, sand and large concentrations of shells. Two layers were discerned in Square D: Walls 1 and 2 were abutted by a floor in the upper layer (L316; Fig. 4); Walls 3 and 4 in the lower layer were canceled when Floor 316 was set. One of the rooms in Square E had three floors (L321, L327, L328; average thickness c. 2 cm; Fig. 5) that abutted Walls 5 and 6. Floor 321 was discovered on both sides of W5. Below its western part, next to the southwestern corner of the square, a drainage channel (width 0.15 m, depth 8 cm) that pointed toward the sea was exposed. Collapse of large stones (0.3 x 0.4 m), whose source is unclear, was exposed alongside the channel. Other stone collapse, including building stones tamped with mortar, was found nearby.
Floors were also found in Squares A–C; however, they did not abut the walls (L300, L306, L307, L315; see Fig. 2). There is no evidence that might allude to the function of the architectural remains in Squares A–E. The small finds within them accumulated after they were no longer in use. Based on the architectural nature and the depth of the excavation it can reasonably be assumed that the rooms represent the basements of upper buildings from the end of the Ottoman period that did not survive.
Next to the outer wall of the police compound (the Qishle) in Square F, the outside of a building corner was exposed; its construction style and quality are unusual (W7, W8; 1.3 x 1.7 m; Fig. 6). The four upper courses were built of ashlars (0.2 x 0.2 x 0.4 m) and bonded with whitish gray plaster. The course below them was also ashlars, which protruded 8 cm below the upper courses of W7 and was not parallel to them. The building was founded on a base of roughly hewn kurkar stones. The southeastern part of the exposed building section was constructed upon a foundation vault of dressed stones that was preserved five courses high. The continuation of the vault was destroyed when the modern infrastructure was installed. Remains of another foundation vault of ashlars were partially exposed at the western end of W7. The narrow dimensions of the exposure and the absence of levels that sealed the remains make it impossible to date the building or determine its function. Based on the high elevation at which the building was discovered and its massive and meticulous construction, it is assumed that it was part of the array of Ottoman fortifications, and probably part of the fort that was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century in the wake of damage caused by Napoleon’s conquest.
The pottery vessels from the fill above the building remains, around them and even beneath them, date to the later phases of the Ottoman period (nineteenth–twentieth centuries CE). However, fragments of glazed bowls from the twelfth or thirteenth centuries CE (Fig. 7:1–3) were discovered, as well as a handle of a Hellenistic jug (Fig. 7:4). No archaeological strata that can be dated to these periods were identified.
Among the Ottoman finds are numerous fragments of Gaza-ware, such as bowls (Fig. 7:5–8) and vessels with a spout (Fig. 7:9). The finds also included clay tobacco pipes in a style characteristic of the end of the Ottoman period, and especially the late nineteenth century CE (Fig. 7:10–12), the top of a gray ceramic hookah, whose style also dates it to this period (Fig. 7:13) and Marseilles roof tiles (Fig. 7:14), which were first imported to Israel in the mid-nineteenth century CE. Five Ottoman coins were discovered in top soil or in accumulations inside the buildings, which had no associated floors: a silver coin from 1808, a bronze coin from 1839, a bronze coin of Abd Al-Aziz (1861–1875) that was struck in Istanbul, a silver coin from Egypt, dating to 1909 and a bronze coin of sultan Abdul Hamid II (1875–1909).
The very limited scope of the excavation prevented the full exposure of the complexes, but the general character of the rooms is indicative of dwellings, storerooms or perhaps commercial buildings related to the market. The construction features of the corner in Square F are indicative of a fortification structure. The nature of the loci that yielded datable finds did not facilitate the dating of the buildings; however, we can reasonably ascribe them to the Late Ottoman period. It should also be noted that Strata I–III in the Roslan Street excavation, conducted several dozen meters to the south, date to the Ottoman period (‘Atiqot 47:194–197; see Fig. 1, ‘The Kletter Excavations’). However, a comparison of the building plans discovered in the two excavations does not reveal comparable architecture or identical wall orientations; hence, it seems that the building remains from the two excavations belonged to separate structures.
The lack of tombs or human bones indicate that the excavation area remained outside the cemetery of the Late Ottoman period, which extended north of the present-day clock tower square.
The excavation added data about two settlement phases. Although the Crusader-period pottery was not found in a contemporary architectural context, it is associated with the buildings from this period exposed on Roslan Street, just several dozen meters south of the current excavation (‘Atiqot 47:197–198), the buildings in new excavations on this street (Permit No. A-5883), and in the Qishle excavations (HA-ESI 121). The Crusader finds from the various excavations indicate that during this period the city expanded from the tell to its lower fringes adjacent to the seashore. The Ottoman buildings from the second half of the nineteenth century CE that were discovered in the excavation reflect the increased activity in this part of the city during the last decades of Ottoman rule in Yafo.