During December 2002–January 2003, a salvage excavation was conducted in a refuse pit at 45 Derekh Ha-Gannim Street in Kefar Shemaryahu (Permit No. A-3805*; map ref. NIG 183150–5/676970–5; OIG 133150–5/176970–5; Fig. 1), which was damaged during the installation of electric cables. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Electric Corporation, was directed by A. Bouchenino, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (studio photography), M. Shuiskaya (drawing), G. Finkielsztejn (Rhodian handles) and N. Carmon (murex shells).
The refuse pit (Fig. 2) was partly excavated, not reaching its bottom; it contained an abundance of pottery vessels and murex shells. The ceramic finds, dating from the fourth to the second centuries BCE, were homogenous and characteristic of Hellenistic-period sites in the country. They included a very large quantity of bowls (10 intact; Fig. 3), jars, cooking pots, jugs (4 intact), lamps (3 intact; Fig. 4) and two Rhodian handles (Fig. 5). A few fragments of pottery vessels from the Roman period and a tiny number of glass fragments were also found.
The bowls formed the majority of the ceramic assemblage and were divided into several groups.
Hemispherical bowls (Fig. 6:1–4). The bowls, slipped red or black, have an inverted rim and a ring base. These locally produced bowls appear frequently in sites of the period, from the end of the fourth until the end of the second centuries BCE (Guz-Zilberstein B. 1995. The Typology of the Hellenistic Coarse Ware and Selected Loci of the Hellenistic and Roman. In E. Stern et al. eds. Excavations at Dor, Final Report IB. Areas A and C: The Finds [Qedem Report 2], Jerusalem. Pp. 289–290).
Fish bowls (Fig. 6:5–8). The bowls, slipped black or red, have a broad ledge rim, everted downward, a ring base that is concave on the interior and has a round depression in its center. These bowls are locally produced, very common in the country and date to the third–second centuries BCE.
Carinated bowls (Fig. 6:9). These small bowls have an everted rim, carination at the bottom of the wall, ring base and a lustrous grayish black slip. The bowls continue the Athenian tradition and date from the fifth to the third centuries CE (Guz-Zilberstein 1995:290–291).
Bowls with handles attached to rim (Fig. 6:10–12). These bowls are carinated on the upper part of the wall, have two special horizontal handles close to the rim, a ring base and a red and/or black slip on the both sides of the bowl. The bowls, dated to the second century BCE, are widely distributed across the country in sites of the period, albeit in small numbers (Guz-Zilberstein 1995:294).
Imported mold-made bowls (Fig. 6:13–15). These bowls have a plain everted rim and a black slip on the outside and inside (the slip on Bowls 13, 14 has barely survived). Bowl 13 has an upper strip of ovolo decoration and a floral design below it. The upper strip of the relief decoration on Bowl 15 is enclosed by beads; a scene below it is survived by winged figures. The provenance of the bowls is in the Hellenistic East, in northern Syria and in southern Asia Minor and they appear from the beginning of the last quarter of the third century BCE until the middle of the first century BCE–beginning of the first century CE.
Deep krater (Fig. 7:16). This krater fragment has an everted turned down ledge rim, two horizontal handles and a ring base. The krater is dated to the end of the third–beginning of the second centuries BCE.
Cooking pots. The large quantity of cooking pots is divided into three main types: (1) cooking pots with a tall neck, inverted rim and two broad strap handles that are drawn from the rim to the wall (Fig. 7:17–20); these are common in the Persian and Hellenistic periods, (2) cooking pots with an everted rim and two ridge handles, drawn from the rim to the wall (Fig. 7:21–24) and (3) cooking pots with an inverted rim and a gutter below it, globular body and two small handles, extending from rim to shoulder (Fig. 7:25–26). This cooking pot is dated to the third–second centuries BCE (Guz-Zilberstein 1995:299).
Cooking kraters. A krater without handles that has a carinated wall and an everted rim fitted for a lid (Fig. 7:27). It is dated from the third–beginning of the first centuries BCE (Guz-Zilberstein 1995:300, Fig. 6.21:10–13). Another krater has a globular body, two handles that extend from rim to shoulder and an inverted rim with a ridge below it (Fig. 7:28). A third krater has an everted rim, two horizontal handles (Fig. 7:29) and a lid (Fig. 7:30).
Jars (Fig. 8:31–42). Bag-shaped jars of light colored clay, which have a thickened and everted rim, sometimes with a ridge at its base, a short neck and two handles drawn along the side of the vessel. This jar is common from the Persian until the Hellenistic periods (Guz-Zilberstein 1995:311–312).
Amphora (Fig. 8:43). A Rhodian amphora base of levigated pinkish orange clay and well fired. The amphora is dated to the end of the third–beginning of the second century BCE, based on two Rhodian handles (Fig. 5:1, 2). Handle No. 1, stamped by Agrianiou in the eponym year of Pausanias, is dated to 199 BCE; Handle No. 2, stamped by Sokrates II in the time of the eponyms Theuphanes II, Symmachos and possibly also Nikasagoras I, is dated to the years 203–170 BCE.
Jugs (Fig. 8:44, 45). The jugs have a wide cylindrical neck, everted rim and a single thick handle, extending from rim to shoulder. This type of jug appears during the Persian period and becomes very popular toward the end of the fifth–fourth century BCE.
Jug/Decanter (Fig. 9:46).
Juglets with a narrow aperture
(Fig. 9:47, 48). The juglets, which have a spherical body, flat base and a handle that is drawn from rim to shoulder, are dated to the first century BCE (‘Atiqot 5
, Fig. 7:9–10; Bar-Nathan 2002. Typology of the Herodian 3 Pottery. In E. Netzer [Director] Hasmonean and Herodian Palaces at Jericho.
Vol. III. Jerusalem; p. 163, Fig. 103).
Juglets (Fig. 9:49–52). The juglets have a short wall, everted rim and a single handle. Two of the juglets (49, 52) have a shallow base ring and the other two (50, 51) have a flat base, with string-cut signs.
Spindle bottle (Fig. 9:53). This vessel has an elongated body, thick wall and a flat base with signs of string cutting; it is dated from the end of the Persian period until the second century BCE.
Miniature bottle (Fig. 9:54). This miniature vessel lacks handles, has a flat base and a thickened and everted rim; it probably contained ointments.
Lamps (Fig. 9:55–57). The lamps are mold-made and characteristic of the second half of the third century–second century BCE. The circular Lamp 55 has a long spout decorated with a grooved radial pattern and a perforated lug on the side (‘Atiqot 6, Fig. 10:3; Rosenthal-Heginbottom 1995. Imported Hellenistic and Roman Pottery. In E. Stern et al. Excavations at Dor, Final Report Vol. I B Areas A and C: The Finds [Qedem Report 2]. Jerusalem. Fig. 5.17, Type 13.7). Lamp 56 is wheel-made and pared. Its sides are curved and it has a perforated lug on its side (‘Atiqot 6, Fig. 10:4; Rosenthal-Heginbottom 1995. Fig. 5.14, Type 7.2). Lamp 57 is a closed type with a high base and a spout that rises slightly. The lamp is characteristic of the end of the fourth–beginning of the third century BCE (‘Atiqot 6, Fig. 10:6).
Pottery from the Roman Period
Wine tasting jar (Fig. 10:58). An imported jar, without handles, from the Roman period, whose base is sometimes perforated.
Flask (Fig. 10:59). This vessel is characterized by an everted rim, a long narrow neck and two handles that extend from the neck to the shoulder. It dates to the Early Roman period and resembles the flasks from the region of Jerusalem.
The ceramic finds indicate that the refuse pit was used in the Hellenistic period (fourth–second centuries BCE), probably by the residents of Tel Michal/Appollonia, although some of the vessels, particularly Jars 31–40 and Cooking Pots 17–20, are dated to the Persian period.
The large quantity of the murex snail shells in the refuse pit belong to the Bolinus Brandaris species, which was used to produce the prestigious purple-color dye. The snails were also used for food and their crushed shells were used for fills, floors, plaster and as raw material in lime production. The murex shells from Kefar Shemaryahu were found complete, meaning they were used for food and not for producing purple dye, which necessitates their breaking. Notwithstanding, they were probably collected for the production of purple dye, but were either not utilized or the snail could be removed from the shell in this Bolinus Brandaris species, without breaking it.
Complete shells of this species were found by the thousands at Tel Mor, together with layers of complete and broken pottery vessels from the fourth–second centuries BCE. They came from a hewn well that was no longer in use as such and functioned as a refuse pit (M. Dothan, 1960, The 1959 Season of Excavations at Tel Mor, The Bulletin of the Israel Exploration Society 24: 120–132; IAA Reports 32, pp. 233–237). Next to the well was an industrial installation, which included two connected pools that were apparently used in the purple-dye industry. The excavations at Appollonia/Arsuf exposed whole murex shells of the Bolinus Brandaris species together with broken murex shells of the Hexaplex Trunculus species in a refuse pit that was dated to the second–first centuries BCE (Roll I. and Tal O. [eds.], Appolonia-Arsuf, Final Report of the Excavation, Vol. I. The Persian and Hellenistic Periods [Tel Aviv University Monograph Series No. 16], pp. 269–280). It should be mentioned that the Bolinus Brandaris species, which is the most popular mollusk in these sites, is very frequent along the coastal regions of the Land of Israel. The absence of other species of mollusks that were used for food or other animal bones in the refuse pit at Kefar Shemaryahu corroborates the assumption that the murex shells were industrial debris from the production of purple dye.