Stratum IV. Pottery sherds ascribed to the Roman period were collected from the entire excavation area. Architectural remains, including a well-built pavement of limestone ashlars, were unearthed in the center of the excavation area (Fig. 2). The pavement was presumably part of a complex that was dismantled for the sake of constructing buildings in later periods.
Stratum III. Remains from the Byzantine period were exposed throughout the excavation area. Wall remains oriented in a northeast–southwest direction and preserved to a height of one or two foundation courses were uncovered in the northern part of the excavation area (Fig. 3). The walls were founded on the limestone bedrock, which characterizes the excavation area as it does the entire vicinity of Elʽad. The level limestone bedrock served as the floor in the buildings, and in places it was evident that the bedrock had been smoothed. Most of the remains from this period were discovered in the center of the excavation area, comprising a large building oriented along an east–west axis (Fig. 4) and consisting of ten, mostly well-preserved rooms. The building was covered with medium and large limestone blocks that had collapsed from its walls. The building’s outer walls were constructed of very large, well-dressed limestone blocks. The partition walls inside the structure were built of medium and large limestone that were preserved to a height of six courses. While several of the rooms in the building had a plaster floor, in others the limestone bedrock served as a floor (Fig. 5). Judging by the paucity of artifacts, it seems that the building was intentionally abandoned, and all of the objects were removed by its inhabitants. The building did not continue to exist in the eighth century CE. Partially excavated wall remains were unearthed in the southern part of the excavation area; it seems that they too were from the Byzantine period.
Stratum II. Two phases dating to the Early Islamic period were identified: from the end of the tenth century – the beginning of the eleventh century CE, and from the eleventh century CE.
The Byzantine-period building was reinhabited after having been abandoned for over 200 years. Numerous changes were made in the structure’s internal division, mainly the partitioning of rooms from Stratum III into smaller spaces, and adding new rooms to the north of the building (Fig. 6). The floors of the rooms also changed: thin earthen floors were laid on a layer of brown soil that had accumulated over the Byzantine-period pavement, and one room was repaved with stone tiles (Fig. 7). In the second phase of the Early Islamic period, the building collapsed and was covered with large and medium-sized limestone blocks. A variety of architectural elements and dressed building stones were found among the collapsed stones. The collapse seems to have resulted from an earthquake, as evident by the uniform direction of the toppled stones, from south to north, and the cracks in the stones. Judging by the ceramic finds collected from among the rubble of the building, the earthquake struck in the eleventh century CE. Two earthquakes occurred in Israel during this period: one in 1033 CE and the other in 1068 CE. At this stage of the research, it is impossible to determine which of the two destroyed the building.
The building, which was subsequently covered with a massive collapse, was abandoned and never used again. It was only in the late Ottoman period that several houses were constructed near the building, but they did not make use of it.
Stratum I. Fragments of pottery vessels dating from the end of the Ottoman period were found scattered throughout the site. Remains of at least three structures were also found, mainly in the southern part of the excavation area (Fig. 6). These may be the remains of residential buildings that were part of the Arab village of el-Muzeiriʽa.
The cistern (Fig. 8), located in the central-western part of the excavation area, was identified in previous excavations. As it was documented but not excavated, it could not be dated.
The excavation yielded remains of four strata. The Roman-period remains were meager. Several buildings were constructed during the Byzantine period. Although they were not built along the same orientation, their construction technique was similar; their use remains unclear. The structures in the northern and southern parts of the excavation area were not well preserved, making it difficult to determine whether they were used as dwellings or for some other purpose. Even the large, well-preserved structure was difficult to define. The lack of installations that are typical of domestic structures may indicate that the building was not a dwelling, but rather a warehouse that was part of a nearby complex. Following the Byzantine period, the building was intentionally abandoned, and reoccupied only after a hiatus of over 200 years, in the Early Islamic period (end of the tenth century – beginning of the eleventh century CE). It than collapsed in the eleventh century CE, probably the result of an earthquake. The settlement at the site was resumed in the late Ottoman period, making up the Arab village of el-Muzeiriʽa.
The excavation findings supplement our information and understanding about the different settlement zones at the site of El‘ad during the aforementioned periods, and they augment the body of evidence from other excavations in the region.