Probe 1 was oriented northwest-southeast along the elevation of the northern ashlar wall (W1005), which disappeared on the west into layers of earth and across the stepped stone feature (L1000/L1007) that abutted the southern face of W1005. At the outset of our excavation, no evidence for the western end of W1005 was visible. However, in the course of fieldwork, the upper course of an additional wall (W1006) was identified to the west (Fig. 3). Ultimately, W1006 was completely exposed, standing nine courses high, while W1005 stood even higher to twelve courses high (Fig. 4). These two walls appear to constitute the western and northern limits of both a first-floor room and a second-floor room above the level of the doorway at the eastern end of W1005, which Kaplan had exposed in 1961 as part of the so-called cellar or catacomb. With the discovery of W1006, the dimensions of the courtyard could be reconstructed, something Kaplan was not able to do since he left the western half of the room unexcavated. The remains of a plaster floor that had probably covered this entire space were also revealed.
Aside from exposing the complete elevations of the northern and western walls of this room, our excavation allowed us to identify the enigmatic stepped stone structure (L1000/L1007) that had cut across the center of this space (see Figs. 2, 4). This structure turned out to be a modern mantle of stones, as evidenced by modern debris underneath the stones. It probably dated to the 1970s and was intended to prevent the further erosion of the lower courses of an Early Roman-period wall that was built across this room from its southern to northern walls, 0.6 m to the east of and parallel to W1006. The Early Roman fill (L1012; depth 2.18 m) included in its last 0.5 m a large quantity of dressed ashlars that had collapsed from W1006, which is distinctly broken away from top to bottom. In addition to Hellenistic and Early Roman pottery, the Early Roman fill contained two nearly complete lamps and a bronze bracelet (?).
The excavation of Probe 1 revealed the full dimensions of the central courtyard or room, which was constructed from ashlar headers and stretchers (length of each side 3.4 m; height c. 2.5 m). Along the north, east, and south elevations, which had already been exposed by Kaplan, ledges ran along the ceiling of the first story to the north and east, upon which the wooden beams of the second story floor had rested (see Fig. 4). A wall of undressed stones (W1024) that was on a similar but not identical line to W1005, suggesting an earlier phase of construction, was exposed at the base of W1005. Based on the masonry of W1024 and its comparison with Persian masonry exposed by Kaplan in his Area A, as well as the fact that W1024 was earlier in date than W1005, this sub-floor feature is tentatively assigned to the Persian period and thus the earliest feature known in Area C.
Probe 2 was opened to the north of W1005 with the purpose of identifying its northern face (see Fig. 3). Unfortunately, no such identification was possible since it appears to have been robbed out, collapsed or both, like the western face of W1006. Consequently, this probe was terminated shortly after it had begun.
Probe 3 was undertaken to identify the west face of W1006. After the exposure of two courses of the eastern elevation of W1006 it was evident that something had caused the wall to collapse. Only during the later excavation of Probe 1 it had become apparent that the entire southern extent of W1006 had collapsed and/or been removed to the level of the floor. The probe was also instrumental in our attempts to relate the Roman-period wall at the west end of the probe to the earlier Hellenistic (?) W1006. Poorly preserved traces of a plaster floor were detected in the probe, the bedding fill of which (L1010) included a fragment of an Early Roman period Judean limestone cup, although no occupational debris was discerned on the floor.
Probe 4 was opened to the north of W1005. The purpose of this probe was to determine if the room to the north of W1005, which was accessed via the doorway at the eastern end of W1005 (see Fig. 4), had a ceiling that would need to be removed prior to the continuation of the excavation in 2009. It was revealed, however, that no ceiling, or floor of the second story, remained intact in this room, although it was filled with a substantial amount of ashlar masonry debris (L1013). The probe was discontinued after reaching the lower edge of the stone lintel on the inside of the doorway on the north side of W1005. Despite the small amount of datable finds from this locus, it seems that this fill, as on the south side of W1005, dates to the Early Roman period. It is uncertain how this room functioned, but it is possible that this narrow space led from the doorway north and up a set of stairs to a second story.