In June–July 2006 a trial excavation was conducted in the village of Meisar (Permit No. A-4829*; map ref. NIG 204189–285/704220–280; OIG 154189–285/204220–280), along the route of a planned sewage line, following the discovery of ancient remains. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and with the financial support of the Menashe Regional Council, was directed by K. Sa’id, with the participation of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), T. Sagiv (photography) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
The excavation was conducted in the center of the village (Fig. 1) which spreads across an area of c. 5 dunams where the Yabed Hills meet the Sharon Plain. Some of the houses of the Arab village (Kh. Hamamah – the Ruin of the Doves as it is referred to by the local residents) are constructed on top of the foundations of ancient buildings. The village does not appear in historical sources or in the Ottoman census of 1596, and it seems that it was erected in the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE. The name of the village is derived from the tomb of Sheikh Meisar which dates to the Early Islamic period. In the past a number of excavations were conducted nearby in which the remains of buildings, agricultural installations and a bathhouse from the Roman–Byzantine periods were exposed (HA-ESI 113:39*–40*; A-3602; A3925; A-4787).
Six squares were opened in which two strata were discovered (Fig. 2).
Four rooms of a residential structure were uncovered in this stratum. The walls of the eastern room (W106, W107, W123) were built of large fieldstones, and its floor consisted of plaster and tamped earth (L117). An opening (width 0.5 m) in Wall 107 led to the second room. A plaster floor (L115) that was founded on a bedding of large fieldstones abutted the walls (W107, W111) of that room. Plaster floor L121 continued to the third room whose walls (W111, W112, W114) were built of fieldstones and faced with gray plaster. West of Wall 112 and parallel to it, another wall (W120) was exposed that formed a room that was paved with medium-sized fieldstones (L132; Fig. 3). A massive wall (W113) built of three rows of fieldstones and abutted by a stone pavement (L129; Fig. 4) was exposed c. 5.5 m west of the building. Fragments of glazed bowls (Fig. 6:1–5), kraters (Fig. 6:6) and jugs (Fig. 6:7–9) from the Abbasid period (ninth–tenth centuries CE) were found in the fill of the walls and in the floor beddings.
After dismantling part of the floor of Stratum I (L115), a round pit (L130) was exposed that was hewn in nari bedrock. It seems that the quarrying of the pit was halted at the point where bedrock became friable (Fig. 5). Part of a second hewn pit (L128) was exposed after another floor (L117) was removed. Fragments of bowls (Fig. 6:10) and jars (Fig. 6:11–17) dating to the Byzantine period (seventh century CE) were found in the fill of both pits.
A residential building consisting of four rooms was exposed in the excavation. While it dates to the Abbasid period, certain hewn stones and columns from earlier periods were reused in its walls. It seems that cisterns and stone quarries were hewn in earlier periods as well. Despite the limited scope of the excavation it sheds light on the settlement history of the region in the Early Islamic period.