In March 2016, a salvage excavation was conducted on Ha-Pardesim Street in Yesud Ha-Maʽala (Permit No. A-7649; map ref. 773950/257400; Fig. 1), after concentrations of Bronze Age pottery sherds were discovered in trial trenches dug prior to the construction of a residential building. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by U. Berger (preliminary trial trenches, GPS and photography), with the assistance of Y. Yaʽaqobi (administration), R. Mishayev and R. Liran (surveying and drafting), Y. Nagar (physical anthropology), A. Gyerman Levanon (3D scans) and a team of laborers from Hazor Ha-Glilit. The author wishes to express his thanks to the map archive at Tel Hai Academic College.
Beneath a layer of clay alluvium devoid of finds (thickness c. 1.5 m) was a layer of wadi pebbles (L4; thickness c. 0.15 m; average pebble length 0.1 m); below this layer was a pit grave (L5), dug in alluvium, and likewise devoid of finds. The western part of the grave was severed and mostly destroyed when a backhoe dug a trial trench at the site prior to the excavation. Apparently, the pebble layer covered the grave and may even have served to mark it. A bedding of small wadi pebbles (L6; max. max. pebble length 5 cm) was placed on the bottom of the grave. The bones of a single individual were discovered above the bedding, including the surviving fragments of a cranium, part of a mandible and long bones. The bones were discovered in anatomic articulation, indicating primary burial. The deceased was placed in a supine position along a northwest–southeast axis, head to the northwest. Based on the degree of tooth wear, the deceased was apparently 30–40 years of age. The bones were not well preserved; hence, it was impossible to determine the sex of the deceased or the cause of death.
A large limestone pebble (B111; Fig. 4) was discovered in the layer of wadi pebbles covering the grave. It was larger than the rest of the pebbles in this layer and on it were a pair of crude incised markings on its upper part and other crude incised markings on its lower part, forming a V-shaped pattern. Another similar limestone pebble (B107; Fig. 5) with incised marks forming a V-shaped pattern was found next to the cranium fragments. It is possible that both chiseled pebbles are figurines reflecting schematic figurative feminine art, like the pebble figurines from earlier periods in the region (Garfinkel 2002
:138–151). An intact clay pyxis (Fig. 6) characteristic of the Late Bronze Age was found next to the bones of the deceased. The two incised pebbles and the pyxis are apparently funerary offerings.
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