Pre-Pottery Neolithic B. Two settlement strata in which there were architectural remains, installations and a burial were previously exposed in Area B. The most ancient remains were found on the bedrock. We continued to expose the remains in the new excavations. In the northern part of Area B, the remains of circular buildings constructed of fieldstones (Fig. 2) separated by a plaster floor and a hearth were revealed, as well as several adjacent burials. Besides the finds characteristic of the period, such as flint implements, stone and obsidian tools, two stone zoomorphic figurines were found.
Middle Bronze Age (Stratum VIII). Several building remains dating to the Middle Bronze Age were found in the previous excavations in the southern part of Area A and the northern part of Area B. In the new excavations, pottery sherds from this period were discovered in the fill on the slope, into which the northern wall of the Iron Age IIA temple structure was built; no architectural remains were found.
Late Bronze Age (Stratum VII). As in the previous excavation, no architectural remains from the Late Bronze Age were found; however, LB pottery sherds were discovered in the sealed fill below the courtyard floors of the temple, indicating a presence at the site during this time period.
Iron Age IIA (ninth century BCE; Stratum VI). Remains from this period were found in the previous excavations, especially in Area B. These included in Area B a large public building (Building 500), originally dated to the Late Iron Age, several silos at the northern end of the area and remains of buildings and installations in its southern part; in Area D, the top of a wall was exposed.
In the new excavations in Area B, the original foundation phase of Building 500 was exposed. Its northeastern corner was built over a silo, thereby rendering it obsolete (Fig. 3). These excavations ascertained the cultic nature of the building, founded as part of a temple complex. Numerous sherds and cultic vessels found in the building’s foundation trench and scattered on the courtyard floor indicate that the temple was established in the Iron Age IIA. The complex was built against the slope, along an east–west axis, and consisted of three components: a courtyard, a portico and a building whose opening was fixed in its eastern wall (Fig. 4). Since the complex was only partially excavated, its precise dimensions and plan are unknown. The courtyard was made level with a packed-earth floor, and a square altar was constructed at its center, opposite the entrance to the structure. The altar was built of unworked fieldstones and was preserved three courses high. North of the altar was a refuse pit that was dug into the courtyard floor (Fig. 5). The pit contained pottery sherds and a large quantity of bones, some of which were burnt and some that bore butchering marks, as well as ash. A large amount of pottery, and cult vessels, were found broken and scattered in an area of c. 1.0 × 1.5 m on the floor to the north of the pit. Among the cult vessels were fragments of stands decorated with knobs and the pendant petal motif, chalices, pendants, two zoomorphic figurines and the head of two anthropomorphic figurines (Fig. 6). The cult vessels and figurines on the floor were intentionally covered with a thick layer of soil and lumps of plaster (Fig. 7). The portico and the building were partially preserved, as their southern parts had been eroded and swept down the slope. The massive northern wall of the building (width c. 2 m) functioned as a retaining wall against the slope (Fig. 8). A protruding pilaster at the eastern end of the wall delimited the northern side of the portico. Between the pilaster and the doorway to the building was a limestone column base. Assuming the structure was symmetric, it can be reconstructed as follows: a long building with a wide opening fixed in the eastern wall, with two prominent pilasters flanking the portico and stone column bases between them, beside the doorway.
A narrow room located just north of the massive retaining wall was exposed in the western part of Area B. This room might have been part of a row of rooms that extended north of the main hall; they might have even surrounded the hall on three sides. Inside the building were stone benches built along to the northern and eastern walls and five, medium-sized fieldstones that were positioned on their narrow side on the packed earth floor near the northern bench, perhaps functioning standing stones/Massebot (Fig. 9).
Iron Age IIB (eighth century BCE; Stratum V). Evidence of a developing agricultural settlement in the Iron Age IIB was revealed in the previous excavations, as dozens of fieldstone-lined silos were excavated in Areas A and D, and part of a storeroom structure containing numerous holemouth jars was exposed in the southern part of Area A. In addition, remains of a dwelling were discovered in Area B. In the new excavations, elements in the courtyard, the portico and a small portion of Building 500, all belonging to the second construction phase of the complex, were re-exposed, excavated and dismantled (Fig. 10).
During the Iron Age IIB, floor levels were raised inside and outside the building, sealing beneath them the benches and standing stones that were inside the building, as well as the altar, repository pit, cult vessels and figurines in the courtyard. A white plaster floor, installations, retaining walls and partition walls (Fig. 11) were built in the courtyard, and the northern pilaster was probably extended. In the western part of the courtyard, a staircase was built of roughly hewn fieldstones. It ascended from the courtyard to the entrance, which was paved with small and medium fieldstones. Even though its basic plan remained unchanged, these additions and the raising of the floor levels reflect structural modifications that were implemented in the temple complex during the Iron Age II.
Late Iron Age IIB (seventh–sixth centuries BCE; Stratum IV). During this period, an enormous upsurge in construction began at the site, indicating the growth of the settlement. In the previous excavations, part of a large building (the Pavement Building) was excavated in Area A, and parts of buildings and several granaries that were in use, but may have also been built, in this phase were excavated in Area D. In Area B, several buildings from this period were excavated, the most prominent of which is Building 500. A scepter head made of Egyptian Blue was found in an ash layer on the floor of the building. East of the building was a large courtyard with a white plaster floor and a variety of installations. Added to this picture are the finds from the new excavations that attest to the intensive building activity at the site and the expansion of the site to the east (Area A) and west (Area G). Remains dating to the Late Iron Age IIB were excavated in Areas A and G. These were sometimes founded directly on the bedrock; sometimes they were set on soil accumulations devoid of any architectural remains or material finds that would be indicative of construction in the region in earlier periods. The excavation of the southeastern corner of the Pavement Building was completed in the eastern part of Area A, and buildings were excavated to its east. At least four construction phases attributed to the Iron Age IIB were discerned in these excavations: in the first phase, granaries lined with small fieldstones were built; in the second phase, the 'Pavement Building', which was used for storage, and another plastered building to its east were erected, severed the silos (Fig. 12); in the third phase, additions consisting of meager fieldstone walls were built to enclose a space between the two buildings of the second phase; in the fourth phase, the walls of the plastered building were made widened and the size of the space created in the third phase was reduced. In Area G, located slightly north of the Nahal Moza/Arza streambed, the partially preserved rooms of a building that might be a four-room house were exposed (Fig. 13). It was impossible to reconstruct the building’s entire plan because the southern part of the structure had eroded down the slope, and its western part was not excavated. This building was founded on a bedrock terrace, the upper part of which was hewn in order to serve as a foundation for walls; the terrace itself was leveled so it could be used as a foundation for a packed-earth floor. A massive stone collapse in one of the rooms sealed beneath it a large amount of pottery fragments dating to the end of the period (Fig. 14). The upper part of the building was destroyed by the inhabitants of the Arab village of Qaluniya, who quarried the bedrock and leveled the area down to the top of the bedrock terrace while preparing for the later construction. A wall stump was preserved inside a deep hollow in the rock on the western part of the upper agricultural terrace in Area H; it might belong to this stratum.
Persian Period. No remains attributed to this period were found in previous excavations at the site. In the renewed excavations, a fieldstone-built tomb covered with flagstones was excavated at the northeastern end of the area, cutting through Iron Age IIB (Fig. 15). It seems that another tomb was located to the east, beyond the limits of the excavation.
Late Roman–Early Byzantine Period (third–fourth centuries CE; Stratum II). In the previous excavations, a room was excavated in the southern part of Area A. It belonged to a building that was dated to the Byzantine period according to the pottery sherds that were found in the collapsed debris that filled it. In the new excavations, additional rooms were exposed in the building (Fig. 16), which was built on a bedrock terrace in the southeast of the excavation, where the slope drops precipitously. Because of the topography, a difference of more than 0.6 m in elevation was created between the levels of its rooms. Although the entrance to the building was not exposed, it was presumably in the south, in the lower part of the building. The walls of the building were founded on the bedrock terraces: on the lower level, the hewn bedrock served as part of the building’s walls, while on the upper level it was used as a foundation for the stone walls. Well-dressed ashlars and several architectural elements, including a monumental column base that may have originated in the Roman building, echo the high quality of the structure. The new finds indicate that this was a large building, whose walls were adorned with colorful frescos and floors had mosaics of a variety of sizes and colors. The purpose of the building is not sufficiently understood, but its plan seems to consist of long rooms arranged around an open courtyard as in typical 'civilian' buildings, such as villas or farmhouses. Pottery characteristic of the Late Roman–Early Byzantine period found during the excavation of the building attests to the time of its construction. This building might be part of the village of Colonia mentioned by Josephus, which was founded during the reign of Emperor Vespasian and was inhabited by veterans of the Roman army. At a later stage, probably in the Byzantine period, the mosaic floors were dismantled, and the frescos were removed from the walls. It seems these were intentional actions rather than the result of the ravages of time.
The Ottoman Period and Time of the British Mandate (Stratum Ia). Agricultural terraces built by the inhabitants of the Arab village of Qaluniya as part of the local farming system cover all of the excavation areas. Remains of a building and of retaining walls were partially exposed in the previous excavations in Area E. The new excavations in Areas E and H revealed architectural remains from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that belonged to the Arab village of Qaluniya, which was founded during the Ottoman period at the top of the spur and abandoned in 1948. One of the buildings in Area E was re-exposed; it included a corner cross-vault pilaster founded directly on bedrock (Fig. 17). The bedrock and the pilaster were covered with a thick layer of collapsed building stones and soil which included well-dressed stones and fragments of Marseilles roof tiles. Prior to the construction of the building, the bedrock was leveled by means of manual quarrying and controlled detonations, as indicated by the drilling channels that remain in the bedrock. The bedrock terrace was fashioned in this manner into an upright rock wall, with protruding foundations to accommodate walls and the pilaster. Several vaulted buildings extending over an area of three agricultural terraces, were excavated in Area H. The walls of the buildings and vault pilasters were preserved to a height of several courses above the floors or just up to the height of the foundations. The buildings on the two lower terraces were built in the twentieth century and founded on bedrock (Fig. 18). The bedrock was partially hewn in the form of an upright wall that served as the bottom part of the buildings’ northern wall, and in places was carelessly leveled as a foundation for cast plaster and concrete floors. Two construction phases were discerned in the buildings on the upper agricultural terrace; they were founded on bedrock that descends steeply southward (Fig. 19). The pottery, metal and glass vessels discovered in their foundation indicate that they were erected during than nineteenth century CE at the earliest. It thus seems that the buildings on the two lower agricultural terraces and the remains of the building in Area E should be ascribed to the early twentieth century CE, a time when the village expanded southward, down the spur.
The numerous architectural remains, some exposed in previous excavations and re-excavated and others newly revealed, made it possible to re-examine the antiquities at Tel Moza. On the slope where the excavation areas were located, Neolithic and Iron Age settlement remains, known from past excavations, were further unearthed. The large, rich temple complex dating to the ninth century BCE is a rare find, and is of extraordinary importance to the study of the formation of the cult and religious traditions during the early monarchy in Judah. The motifs that are apparent on the cult vessels and figurines are drawn from the Aegean world, Northern Syria and possibly from Edom as well. The plan of the temple represents traditions from Northern Syria. This combination of motifs, which have their origins with neighboring cultures, indicates the existence of an eclectic, possibly hybrid, cult practice in Judah during the Iron Age IIA. The new excavations corroborate the findings of the previous excavations, namely that there was a significant increase in the settlement during the Late Iron Age II. The extensive construction that occurred during this period in Area A points to a large settlement, and the building that was found in Area G possibly reflects the expansion of the settlement westward, almost as far as the stream. The discovery of remains from the Persian Period, albeit scant, is important as it indicates a formerly unknown presence at the site during this period.
The paucity of finds between the Iron Age II and the modern era may indicate a shift of the settlement center, possibly southward, toward the fertile streambed, as evidenced in excavations that were conducted in the region (Eisenberg 1974; Permit Nos. A-6554, A-6581). Centuries later, when the Arab village of Qaluniya was established in the Ottoman period, the slope was used once again as a settlement center. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the village expanded and new buildings were constructed near the bottom of the slope. This construction sealed and sometimes even damaged ancient remains, as can be seen in Areas G and H, where the quarrying undertaken for the construction of the Arab village removed the Iron Age II remains. The village residents installed a system of agricultural terraces on the slope that shaped the region’s landscape to this day.