In June 2006, a salvage excavation was conducted near Shiqmim Beach near the Kinneret (Permit No. A-5676; map ref. 252517–95/740747–847). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Kinneret Administration, was directed by E. Yannai, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration) and R, Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying).
Three squares were excavated (Fig. 2); the excavation area was enlarged slightly to the south and west in order to connect it to a previous excavation (Permit No. A-5057), where an entire room and sections of additional rooms were found, and to their south—sections of another building, with floors paved with pebbles and covered with plaster that date to the Abbasid and Fatimid periods.
A building (4 × 7 m) with fieldstone walls (W11, W14–W16) and tamped-earth floors (L1005, L1007) was exposed. Very large stones with small fieldstones between them were placed in the corners of the walls. The wall surfaces were coated with a layer of mud and gravel. The foundations (preserved height 0.5 m) were set on bedrock, leveled with gravel, and the tops of the walls were made level for the construction of mud-bricks. The building was entered from the north, and another opening was located in the eastern wall. An in-situ tabun containing a whole jar (Fig. 4) was found on the floor of the building. Another jar, and near it in-situ millstones and basalt stones with depressions used for pounding were also discovered on the building’s floor. Several vessels and bronze coins were found within the collapsed debris on the floor. The objects and coins that remained in the building indicate that it was not burnt, although it was destroyed in a sudden event. The pottery vessels that were found in the destruction layer date to the Fatimid period.
An alley (L1014), bounded on the north by a wall (W22), was exposed north of the building. The tops of additional walls were uncovered north of the alley, beyond the excavation area. South of the building was a long wall (W12) that continued up to the edge of the excavation area; it was adjoined by another wall (W13) from the east. The two walls delimited a building (L1008) that was almost completely destroyed when the Kinneret–Tiberias road was paved. Wall 12 and a parallel wall to its west (W10) delimited an alley (L1009). South and west of W10 was a large open area, paved with meticulously arranged pebbles (L1003, L1012, L1021; c. 10 × 10 m; Fig. 5); it was bounded on the south by a row of flat column bases (W20), beyond which was a pebble-paved room that had been exposed in a previous excavation (Permit No. A-5057). In a probe excavated below the pebble floor of the open area, a thick plaster floor was exposed (L1013; Fig. 6). Floor 1013 was not part of the pebble floor’s foundation, and was presumably part of a building that predated the pebble floor; no other remains of this building were found in the excavation.
It seems that the remains revealed in the current excavation and those of the previous excavation were all part of a single built complex. Buildings separated by alleys and a pebble-paved surface were found in the excavated areas. The northern part of the complex was used for dwelling, and its rooms probably carried roofs. The row of column bases in the south indicates that the southern part of the pebble surface was covered, while its northern part was probably open, and might have been part of a courtyard. These remains suggest that this area was part of an industrial installation, although neither elements nor artifacts were exposed that can attest to this. The pebble surface was not founded on a strong stable base; rather, it was simply laid on the leveled ground. Thus, the pebble surface could be used neither for treading or any activity involving the placement of heavy weights nor in any activity related to draining large amounts of liquids. It is thus possible that the surface was used for drying products, such as fruit, carpets, rugs, linen and other products whose manufacturing process required they be spread out and dried.